Skip to main content

Full text of "A hand-book of mythology : the myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome"

See other formats

land-Book o/ Mythology. 



one^half the price'of ottu 

EFFINGHAM MAYNARD & Co,, Publishers, New York, 


Classes in English Literature, Reading, Grammar, etc. 


Each Volume contains a Sketch of the Author's Life, Prefatory and 
Explanatory Notes, etc., etc. 

1 Byron's Prophecy of Dante. 

(Cantos I. and II.) 

2 Milton's L' Allegro and II Pense- 


3 Lord Bacon's Essays, Civil and 

Moral. (Selected.) 

4 Byron's Prisoner of Chillon. 

5 Moore's Fire-Worshipers. (Lalla 

Rookh. Selected from Parts I. 
and II.) 

6 Goldsmith's Deserted Village. 

7 Scott's Marmion. 

(Selections from Canto VI.) 

8 Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

(Introduction and Canto I.) 

9 Burns' Cotter's Saturday Night, 

and Other Poems. 

10 Crabbe's The Village. 

11 Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. 

(Abridgment of Part I.) 

12 Macaulay's Essays on Banyan's 

Pilgrim's Progress. 

13 Macaulay's Armada, and other 


14 Shakespeare's Merchant of Ven- 

ice. (Selections from Acts I., 
III. and IV.) 

15 Goldsmith's Traveler. 

16 Hogg's Queen's "Wake. 

17 Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. 

18 Addison'sSirRogerdeCoverley. 

19 Gray's Elegy in a Country 


20 Scott's Lady of the Lake. 

(Canto I.) 

21 Shakespeare's As You Like It, 

etc. (Selections.) 

22 Shakespeare's King John and 

King Richard II. (Selections.) 

23 Shakespeare's King Henry IV., 

King Henry V., King Henry 
VI. (Selections.) 

24 Shakespeare's Henry VIII. and 

Julius Caesar. (Selections.) 

25 Wordsworth's Excursion. 

(Book I.) 

26 Pope's Essay on Criticism. 

27 Spenser's Faerie Ojueene. 

(Cantos I. and II.) 

28 Cowper's Task. (Book I.) 

29 Milton's Comus. 

30 Tennyson's Enoch Arden. 

31 Irving's Sketch Book. 


32 Dickens' Christmas Carol. 


33 Carlyle's Hero as a Prophet. 

34 Macaulay's Warren Hastings. 


35 Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefleld. 


36 Tennyson's The Two Voices and 

A Dream of Fair Women. 

37 Memory Quotations. For use in 

High Schools and upper classes 
of Grammar Schools. 

38 Cavalier Poets. 

39 Dryden's Alexander's Feast and 


40 Keats' The Eve of St. Agnes. 

41 Irving's Legend of Sleepy 


42 Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare 

43 Le Bow's How to Teach Read- 

ing. The author of this manual 
has had long and successful ex- 
perience in teaching this subject 

44 Webster's Bunker Hill Orations. 

45 The Academy Orthoepist. A 

Manual of Pronunciation for 
se in the School-room, includ- 
ing a special list of proper names 
of frequent occurrence in litera- 
ture, science and art. 

46 Milton's Lycidas, and Hymn on 

the Nativity. 

47 Bryant's Thanatopsis, and other 


48 Buskin's Modern Painters. 


49 The Shakespeare Speaker. 

Selections from Shakespeare 

for declamation. 
60 Thackeray's Roundabout 

51 Webster's Oration on Adams 

and Jefferson. 
62 Brown's Rab and His Friends. 

53 Morris'sLifeandDeathofJasoii. 

54 Burke's Speech on American 


55 Pope's Rape of the Lock. 

56 Tennyson's Elaine. 

57 Tennyson's In Memoriam. 

Front, 32 to 64 page* each, 16mo. Others in Preparation. Sent by mail 
on receipt of 12 Cents. 

EFFINGHAM MAYNARD & CO., Publishers, New York. 







E. M. BEEE^S. 





Spelling, Language, Grammar, Composition, Literature. 

Reed's Word Lessons A Complete Speller. 

Reed & Kellogg's Graded Lessons in English. 
Reed & Kellogg's Higher Lessons in English. 
Kellogg's Text-Book on Rhetoric. 

Kellogg's Text-Book on English Literature. 

In the preparation of this series the authors have had one object 
clearly in view to so develop the study of the English language as to 
present a complete, progressive course, from the Spelling- Book to the 
study of English Literature. The troublesome contradictions which 
arise in using books arranged by different authors on these subjects, 
and which require much time for explanation in the school-room, will 
be avoided by the use of the above " Complete Course." 

Teachers are earnestly invited to examine these books. 

CLARK & MAYNARD, Publishers, 

771 Broadway, New York. 


THE want of an interesting work on Greek and Roman mytho- 
logy, suitable for the requirements of both boys and girls, has 
long been recognized by the principals of our advanced schools. 
The study of the classics themselves, even where the attain- 
ments of the pupil have rendered this feasible, has not been 
found altogether successful in giving to the student a clear 
and succinct idea of the religious beliefs of the ancients, and it 
has been suggested that a work which would so deal with the 
subject as to render it at once interesting and instructive 
would be hailed as a valuable introduction to the study of 
classic authors, and would be found to assist materially the 
labours of both master and pupil. 

In endeavouring to supply this want I have sought to place 
before the reader a lifelike picture of the deities of classical 
times as they were conceived and worshipped by the ancients 
themselves, and thereby to awaken in the minds of young 
students a desire to become more intimately acquainted with 
the noble productions of classical antiquity. 

It has been my aim to render the Legends, which form the 
second portion of the work, a picture, as it were, of old Greek 
life ; its customs, its superstitions, and its princely hospitalities, 
for which reason they are given at somewhat greater length 
than is usual in works of the kind. 

In a chapter devoted to the purpose some interesting par- 
ticulars have been collected respecting the public worship of 
the ancient Greeks and Romans (more especially of the 
former), to which is subjoined an account of their principal 

I may add that no pains have been spared in order that, 
without passing over details the omission of which would have 


marred the completeness of the work, not a single passage 
should be found which could possibly offend the most scrupu- 
lous delicacy ; and also that I have purposely treated the 
subject with that reverence which 1 consider due to every 
religious system, however erroneous. 

It is hardly necessary to dwell upon the importance of the 
study of Mythology : our poems, our novels, and even our 
daily journals teem with classical allusions ; nor can a visit to 
our art galleries and museums be fully enjoyed without some- 
thing more than a mere superficial knowledge of a subject 
which has in all ages inspired painters, sculptors, and poets. 
It therefore only remains for me to express a hope that my 
little work may prove useful, not only to teachers and scholars, 
but also to a large class of general readers, who, in whiling 
away a leisare hour, may derive some pleasure and profit 
from its perusal. 








URANUS AND G^A (Ccelus and Terra), 11 


CRONUS (Saturn), 14 

EHEA (Ops), 18 



ZEUS (Jupiter), 26 

HERA (Juno), 38 

PALLAS-ATHENE (Minerva), 43 


HESTIA (Vesta), 48 

DEMETER (Ceres), 50 

APHRODITE (Venus), 58 

HELIOS (Sol), 61 

Eos (Aurora), 67 



SELENE (Luna), 86 

ARTEMIS (Diana), 87 

HBPILESTUS (Vulcan), 97 

POSEIDON (Neptune), 101 




NEREUS, 108 



GLAUCUS, ... 109 

THETIS, 110 




ARES (Mare), 112 

NIKE (Victoria), 117 

HERMES (Mercury), 117 

DIONYSUS (Bacchus or Liber), 124 

AIDES (Pluto), 130 

PLUTUS, 137 



ERINYES, EUMENIDES (Furiae, Dirae), 138 

MOIR* OR FATES (Parcae), 139 



NYX(NOX), 142 

THANATOS (More), HYPNUS (Somnus), 142 



GrKJEJE, 145 

SPHINX, 146 

TYCHE (Fortuna) and ANANKE (Xecessitas) 147 

KER, 149 

ATE, 149 

MOMUS, 149 

EROS (Cupid, Amor) and PSYCHE, 150 

HYMEN, 154 

IRIS, 155 

HEBE (Juventas), 156 








HOR.E (Seasons) 164 



PAN (Faunus), 171 



ASCLEPIAS (^Esculapius), 176 

JANUS, 178 

FLORA, 180 


POMONA, 180 


PALES, 181 

Picus, 182 


SlLVANUS, ... 182 


CONSUS, 183 

LlBITINA, 183 


COMUS, 184 


GENII, ... 185 

MANES, 185 

PENATES, ... 187 










AUGURS, 196 












CADMUS, 203 


ION, 210 



PELOPS, 232 














BEFORE entering upon the many strange beliefs of the 
ancient Greeks, and the extraordinary number of gods 
they worshipped, we must first consider what kind of 
beings these divinities were. 

In appearance, the gods were supposed to resemble 
mortals, whom, however, they far surpassed in beauty, 
grandeur, and strength : they were also more command- 
ing in stature, height being considered by the Greeks an 
attribute of beauty in man or woman. They resembled 
human beings in their feelings and habits, intermarrying 
and having children, and requiring daily nourishment to 
recruit their strength, and refreshing sleep to restore their 
energies. Their blood, a bright ethereal fluid called Ichor, 
never engendered disease, and, when shed, had the power 
of producing new life. 

The Greeks believed that the mental qualifications of 
their gods were of a much higher order than those of men, 
but nevertheless, as we shall see, they were not considered 
to be exempt from human passions, and we frequently 
behold them actuated by revenge, deceit, and jealousy. 
They, however, always punish the evil-doer, and visit 
with dire calamities any impious mortal who dares to 
neglect their worship or despise their rites. We often 
hear of them visiting mankind and partaking of their 
hospitality, and not unfrequently both gods and goddesses 


become attached to mortals, with whom they unite them- 
selves, the offspring of these unions being called heroes or 
demi-gods, who were usually renowned for their great 
strength and courage. But although there were so many 
points of resemblance between gods and men, there re- 
mained the one great characteristic distinction, viz., that 
the gods enjoyed immortality. Still, they were not invul- 
nerable, and we often hear of them being wounded, and 
suffering in consequence such exquisite torture that they 
have earnestly prayed to be deprived of their privilege of 

The gods knew no limitation of time or space, being 
able to -transport themselves to incredible distances with 
the speed of thought. They possessed the power of ren- 
dering themselves invisible at will, and could assume the 
forms of men or animals as it suited their convenience. 
They could also transform human beings into trees, stones, 
animals, &c., either as a punishment for their misdeeds, 
or as a means of protecting the individual, thus trans- 
formed, from impending danger. Their robes were like 
those worn by mortals, but were perfect in form and 
much finer in texture. Their weapons also resembled 
those used by mankind; we hear of spears, shields, hel- 
mets, bows and arrows, &c., being employed by the gods. 
Each deity possessed a beautiful chariot, which, drawn by 
horses or other animals of celestial breed, conveyed them 
rapidly over land and sea according to their pleasure. 
Most of these divinities lived on the summit of Mount 
Olympus, each possessing his or her individual habitation, 
and all meeting together on festive occasions in the 
council-chamber of the gods, where their banquets were 
enlivened by the sweet strains of Apollo's lyre, whilst 
the beautiful voices of the Muses poured forth their rich 
melodies to his harmonious accompaniment. Magnificent 
temples were erected to their honour, where they were 
worshipped with the greatest solemnity; rich gifts were 
presented to them, and animals, and indeed sometimes 
human beings, were sacrificed on their altars. 

In the study of Grecian mythology we meet with some 


curious, and what may at first sight appear unaccount- 
able notions. Thus we hear of terrible giants hurling 
rocks, upheaving mountains, and raising earthquakes 
which engulf whole armies; these ideas, however, may be 
accounted for by the awful convulsions of nature, which 
were in operation in pre-historic times. Again, the daily 
recurring phenomena, which to us, who know them to 
be the result of certain well-ascertained laws of nature, 
are so familiar as to excite no remark, were, to the early 
Greeks, matter of grave speculation, and not unfrequently 
of alarm. For instance, when they heard the awful roar 
of thunder, and saw vivid flashes of lightning, accompa- 
nied by black clouds and torrents of rain, they .believed 
that the great god of heaven was angry, and they trembled 
at his wrath. If the calm and tranquil sea became sud- 
denly agitated, and the crested billows rose mountains 
high, dashing furiously against the rocks, and threatening 
destruction to all within their reach, the sea-god was 
supposed to be in a furious rage. When they beheld the 
sky glowing with the hues of coming day they thought 
that the goddess of the dawn, with rosy fingers, was draw- 
ing aside the dark veil of night, to allow her brother, 
the sun-god, to enter upon his brilliant career. Thus 
personifying all the powers of nature, this very imagi- 
native and highly poetical nation beheld a divinity in 
every tree that grew, in every stream that flowed, in 
the bright beams of the glorious sun, and the clear, cold 
rays of the silvery moon; for them the whole universe 
lived and breathed, peopled by a thousand forms of grace 
and beauty. 

The most important of these divinities may have been 
something more than the mere creations of an active and 
poetical imagination. They were possibly human beings 
who had so distinguished themselves in life by their pre- 
eminence over their fellow-mortals that after death they 
were deified by the people among whom they lived, and 
the poets touched with their magic wand the details of 
lives, which, in more prosaic times, would simply have 
been recorded as illustrious. 


It is highly probable that the reputed actions of these 
deified beings were commemorated by bards, who, tra- 
velling from one state to another, celebrated their praise 
in song; it therefore becomes exceedingly difficult, nay 
almost impossible, to separate bare facts from the exag- 
gerations which never fail to accompany oral traditions. 

In order to exemplify this, let us suppose that Orpheus, 
the son of Apollo, so renowned for his extraordinary 
musical powers, had existed at the present day. We 
should no doubt have ranked him among the greatest of 
our musicians, and honoured him as such; but the Greeks, 
with their vivid imagination and poetic license, exagger- 
ated his remarkable gifts, and attributed to his music 
supernatural influence over animate and inanimate nature. 
Thus we hear of wild beasts tamed, of mighty rivers 
arrested in their course, and of mountains being moved 
by the sweet tones of his voice. The theory here ad- 
vanced may possibly prove useful in the future, in sug- 
gesting to the reader the probable basis of many of the 
extraordinary accounts we meet with in the study of 
classical mythology. 

And now a few words will be necessary concerning 
the religious beliefs of the Romans. When the Greeks 
first settled in Italy they found in the country they col- 
onized a mythology belonging to the Celtic inhabitants, 
which, according to the Greek, custom of paying reverence 
to all gods, known or unknown, they readily adopted, 
selecting and appropriating those divinities which had 
the greatest affinity to their own, and thus they formed 
a religious belief which naturally bore the impress of its 
ancient Greek source. As the primitive Celts, however, 
were a less civilized people than the Greeks, their my- 
thology was of a more barbarous character, and this cir- 
cumstance, combined with the fact that the Romans were 
not gifted with the vivid imagination of their Greek 
neighbours, leaves its mark on the Roman mythology, 
which is far less fertile in fanciful conceits, and deficient 
in all those fairy-like stories and wonderfully poetic ideas 
which so strongly characterize that of the Greeks. 





The ancient Greeks had several different theories with 
regard to the origin of the world, but the generally 
accepted notion was that before this world came into 
existence, there was in its place a confused mass of 
shapeless elements called Chaos. These elements be- 
coming at length consolidated (by what means does not 
appear), resolved themselves into two widely different 
substances, the lighter portion of which, soaring on high, 
formed the sky or firmament, and constituted itself into 
a vast, overarching vault, which protected the firm and 
solid mass beneath. 

Thus came into being the two first great primeval 
deities of the Greeks, Uranus and Ge or Gsea. 

Uranus, the more refined deity, represented the light 
and air of heaven, possessing the distinguishing qualities 
of light, heat, purity ; and omnipresence, whilst Gsea, the 
firm, flat, 1 life-sustaining earth, was worshipped as the 
great all-nourishing mother. Her many titles refer to 
her more or less in this character, and she appears to 
have been universally revered among the Greeks, there 
being scarcely a city in Greece which did not contain a 
temple erected in her honour; indeed Gsea was held in 
such veneration that her name was always invoked when- 
ever the gods took a solemn oath, made an emphatic 
declaration, or implored assistance. 

Uranus, the heaven, was believed to have united him- 
self in marriage with Gsea, the earth; and a moment's 
reflection will show what a truly poetical, and also what 
a logical idea this was; for, taken in a figurative sense, 

1 The early Greeks supposed the earth to be a flat circle, in the centre 
of which was Greece. Oceanus, the ocean stream, enci 

encircled it ; the 

n being suosed to flow into this river 
and the Euxi 

Mediterranean being supposed to flow into this river on the one side, 
ine, or Black Sea, on the other. 


this union actually does exist The smiles of heaven 
produce the flowers of earth, whereas his long-continued 
frowns exercise so depressing an influence upon his loving 
partner, that she no longer decks herself in bright and 
festive robes, but responds with ready sympathy to his 
melancholy mood. 

The first-born child of Uranus and Goea was Oceanus, 1 
the ocean stream, that vast expanse of ever-flowing water 
which encircled the earth. Here we meet with another 
logical though fanciful conclusion, which a very slight 
knowledge of the workings of nature proves to have been 
just and true. The ocean is formed from the rains which 
descend from heaven and the streams which flow from 
earth. By making Oceanus therefore the offspring of 
Uranus and Gaea, the ancients, if we take this notion in 
its literal sense, merely assert that the ocean is produced 
by the combined influence of heaven and earth, whilst at 
the same time their fervid and poetical imagination led 
them to see in this, as in all manifestations of the powers 
of nature, an actual, tangible divinity. 

But Uranus, the heaven, the embodiment of light, heat, 
and the breath of life, produced offspring who were of a 
much less material nature than his son Oceanus. These 
other children of his were supposed to occupy the inter- 
mediate space which divided him from Gaea. Nearest to 
Uranus, and just beneath him, came Aether (Ether), a 
bright creation representing that highly rarified atmo- 
sphere which immortals alone could breathe. Then fol- 
lowed Aer (Air), which was in close proximity to Gaea, 
and represented, as its name implies, the grosser atmo- 
sphere surrounding the earth which mortals could freely 
breathe, and without which they would perish. Aether 
and Aer were separated from each other by divinities 
called Nephelae. These were their restless and wander- 
ing sisters, who existed in the form of clouds, ever float- 

1 Giving to the vagueness of the various accounts of creation, the 
origin of the primeval gods is variously accounted for. Thus, for in- 
stance, Oceanus, with some, becomes the younger brother of Uranus 
and Gaea. 


ing between Aether and Aer. Gaea also produced the 
mountains, and Pontus (the sea). She united herself with 
the latter, and their offspring were the sea-deities Nereus, 
Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto, and Eurybia. 

Co-existent with Uranus and Gaea were two mighty 
powers who were also the offspring of Chaos. These 
were Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night), who formed 
a striking contrast to the cheerful light of heaven and 
the bright smiles of earth. Erebus reigned in that mys- 
terious world below where no ray of sunshine, no gleam 
of daylight, nor vestige of health-giving terrestrial life 
ever appeared. Nyx, the sister of Erebus, represented 
Night, and was worshipped by the ancients with the 
greatest solemnity. 

Uranus was also supposed to have been united to Nyx, 
but only in his capacity as god of light, he being considered 
the source and fountain of all light, and their children 
were Eos (Aurora), the Dawn, and Hemera, the Daylight. 
Nyx again, on her side was also doubly united, having 
been married at some indefinite period to Erebus. 

In addition to those children of heaven and earth 
already enumerated, Uranus and Gaea produced two dis- 
tinctly different races of beings called Giants and Titans. 
The Giants personified brute strength alone, but the 
Titans united to their great physical power intellectual 
qualifications variously developed. There were three 
Giants, Briareus, Cottus, and Gyges, who each possessed 
a hundred hands and fifty heads, and were known col- 
lectively by the name of the Hecatoncheires, which 
signified hundred-handed. These mighty Giants could 
shake the universe and produce earthquakes; it is there- 
fore evident that they represented those active subter- 
ranean forces to which allusion has been made in the 
opening chapter. The Titans were twelve in number; 
their names were : Oceanus, Ceos, Crios, Hyperion, 
lapetus, Cronus, Theia, Ehea, Themis, Mnemosyne, 
Phoebe, and Tethys. 

Now Uranus, the chaste light of heaven, the essence 
of all that is bright and pleasing, held in abhorrence his 


crude, rough, and turbulent offspring, the Giants, and 
moreover feared that their great power might even- 
tually prove hurtful to himself. He therefore hurled 
them into Tartarus, that portion of the lower world 
which served as the subterranean dungeon of the gods. 
In order to avenge the oppression of her children, the 
Giants, Gsea instigated a conspiracy on the part of the 
Titans against Uranus, which was carried to a success- 
ful issue by her son Cronus. He wounded his father, 
and from the blood of the wound which fell upon the 
earth sprang a race of monstrous beings also called 
Giants. Assisted by his brother-Titans, Cronus succeeded 
in dethroning his father, who, enraged at his defeat, 
cursed his rebellious son, and foretold to him a similar 
fate. Cronus now became invested with supreme power, 
and assigned to his brothers offices of distinction, subor- 
dinate only to himself. Subsequently, however, when, 
secure of his position, he no longer needed their assist- 
ance, he basely repaid their former services with treachery, 
made war upon his brothers and faithful allies, and, as- 
sisted by the Giants, completely defeated them, sending 
such as resisted his all-conquering arm down into the 
lowest depths of Tartarus. 



Cronus was the god of time in its sense of eternal 
duration. He married Rhea, daughter of Uranus and 
Gasa, a very important divinity, to whom a special chapter 
will be devoted hereafter. Their children were, three 
sons: Aides (Pluto), Poseidon (Neptune), Zeus (Jupiter), 
and three daughters: Hestia (Vesta), Demeter (Ceres), 
and Hera (Juno). Cronus, having an uneasy conscience, 
was afraid that his children might one day rise up against 
his authority, and thus verify the prediction of his father 




Uranus. In order, therefore, to render the prophecy im- 
possible of fulfilment, Cronus swallowed each child as 
soon as it was born, 1 greatly to the sorrow and indigna- 
tion of his wife Ehea. When it came to Zeus, the sixth 
and last, Rhea resolved to try and save this one child at 
least, to love and cherish, and appealed to her parents, 
Uranus and Geea, for counsel and assistance. By their 
advice she wrapped a stone in baby-clothes, and Cronus, 
in eager haste, swallowed it, without noticing the decep- 
tion. The child thus saved, eventually, as we shall see, 
dethroned his father Cronus, became supreme god in his 
stead, and was universally venerated as the great national 
god of the Greeks. 

Anxious to preserve the secret of his existence from 
Cronus, Rhea sent the infant 
Zeus secretly to Crete, where 
he was nourished, protected, 
and educated. A sacred goat, 
called Amalthea, supplied the 
place of his mother, by provid- 
ing him with milk; nymphs, 
called Melissae, fed him with 
honey, and eagles and doves 
brought him nectar and am- 
brosia. 2 He was kept concealed 
in a cave in the heart of 
Mount Ida, and the Curetes, or 
priests of Rhea, by beating their 
shields together, kept up a con- 
stant noise at the entrance, 
which drowned the cries of the 
child and frightened away all 
intruders. Under the watchful 
care of the Nymphs the infant Zeus throve rapidly, 
developing great physical powers, combined with extra- 

1 The myth of Cronus swallowing his children is evidently intended 
by the poets to express the melancholy truth that time destroys all 

J Nectar was the drink, and ambrosia the food of the gods. 


ordinary wisdom and intelligence. Grown to manhood, 
he determined to compel his father to restore his brothers 
and sisters^to the light of day, and is said to have been 
assisted in this difficult task by the goddess Metis, who 
artfully persuaded Cronus to drink a potion, which caused 
him to give back the children he had swallowed. The 
stone which had counterfeited Zeus was placed at Delphi, 
where it was long exhibited as a sacred relic. 

Cronus was so enraged at being circumvented that war 
between the father and son became inevitable. The rival 
forces ranged themselves on two separate high mountains 
in Thessaly; Zeus, with his brothers and sisters, took 
his stand on Mount Olympus, where he was joined by 
Oceanus, and others of the Titans, who had forsaken 
Cronus on account of his oppressions. Cronus and his 
brother-Titans took possession of Mount Othrys, and pre- 
pared for battle. The struggle was long and fierce, 
and at length Zeus, finding that he was no nearer 
victory than before, bethought himself of the existence 
of the imprisoned Giants, and knowing that they would 
be able to render him most powerful assistance, he 
hastened to liberate them. He also called to his aid 
the Cyclops (sons of Poseidon and Amphitrite), 1 who 
had only one eye each in the middle of their foreheads, 
and were called Brontes (Thunder), Steropes (Lightning), 
and Pyracmon (Fire-anvil). They promptly responded 
to his summons for help, and brought with them tre- 
mendous thunderbolts which the Hecatoncheires, with 
their hundred hands, hurled down upon the enemy, at the 
same time raising mighty earthquakes, which swallowed 
up and destroyed all who opposed them. Aided by 
these new and powerful allies, Zeus now made a furious 
onslaught 011 his enemies, and so tremendous was the 
encounter that all nature is said to have throbbed in 
accord with this mighty effort of the celestial deities. 
The sea rose mountains high, and its angry billows 

1 The Cyclops are generally mentioned as the sons of Uranus and 
Gaea, but "Homer speaks of Polyphemus, the chief of the Cyclops, as 
the son of Poseidon, and states the Cyclops to be his brothers. 




hissed and foamed; the earth shook to its foundations, 
the heavens sent forth rolling thunder, and flash after 
flash of death-bringing lightning, whilst a blinding mist 
enveloped Cronus and his allies. 

And now the fortunes of war began to turn, and 
victory smiled on Zeus. Cronus and his army were 
completely overthrown, his brothers despatched to the 
gloomy depths of the lower world, and Cronus himself 
was banished from his kingdom and deprived for ever of 
the supreme power, which now became vested in his son 
Zeus. This war was called the Titanomachia, and is 
most graphically described by the old classic poets. 

With the defeat of Cronus and his banishment from 
his dominions, his career as a ruling Greek divinity 
entirely ceases. But being, like all the gods, immortal, 
he was supposed to be still in existence, though pos- 
sessing no longer either influence or authority, his place 
being filled to a certain extent by his descendant and 
successor, Zeus. 

Cronus is often repre- 
sented as an old man lean- 
ing on a scythe, with an 
hour-glass in his hand. 
The hour-glass symbolizes 
the fast-fleeting moments as 
they succeed each other un- 
ceasingly; the scythe is em- 
blematical of time, which 
mows down all before it. 


The Romans, according 
to their custom of identi- 
fying their deities with 
those of the Greek gods 
whose attributes were simi- 
lar to their own, declared 

Cronus to be identical with their old agricultural divinity 
Saturn. They believed that after his defeat in the 

(73) B 


Titanomachia and his banishment from his dominions 
by Zeus, he took refuge with Janus, king of Italy, who 
received the exiled deity with great kindness, and even 
shared his throne with him. Their united reign became 
so thoroughly peaceful and happy, and was distinguished 
by such uninterrupted prosperity, that it was called the 
Golden Age. 

Saturn is usually represented bearing a sickle in the 
one hand and a wheat-sheaf in the other. 

A temple was erected to him at the foot of the Capito- 
line Hill, in which were deposited the public treasury 
and the laws of the state. 

RHEA (Ops). 

Rhea, the wife of Cronus, and mother of Zeus and the 
other great gods of Olympus, personified the earth, and 
was regarded as the Great Mother and unceasing pro- 
ducer of all plant-life. She was also believed to exercise 
unbounded sway over the animal creation, more especially 
over the lion, the noble king of beasts. Rhea is generally 
represented wearing a crown of turrets or towers and 
seated on a throne, with lions crouching at her feet. She 
is sometimes depicted sitting in a chariot, drawn by lions. 

The principal seat of her worship, which was always of 
a very riotous character, was at Crete. At her festivals, 
which took place at night, the wildest music of flutes, 
cymbals, and drums resounded, whilst joyful shouts and 
cries, accompanied by dancing and loud stamping of feet, 
filled the air. 

" This divinity was introduced into Crete by its first 
colonists from Phrygia, in Asia Minor, in which country 
she was worshipped under the name of Cybele. The people 
of Crete adored her as the Great Mother, more especially 
in her signification as the sustainer of the vegetable 
world. Seeing, however, that year by year, as winter 
appears, all her glory vanishes, her flowers fade, and her 
trees become leafless, they poetically expressed this 
process of nature under the figure of a lost love. She 


was said to have been tenderly attached to a youth of 
remarkable beauty, named Atys, who, to her grief and 
indignation, proved faithless to her. He was about to 
unite himself to a nymph called Sagaris, when, in the 
midst of the wedding feast, the rage of the incensed 
goddess suddenly burst forth upon all present. A panic 
seized the assembled guests, and Atys, becoming afflicted 
with temporary madness, fled to the mountains and de- 
stroyed himself. Cybele, moved with sorrow and regret, 
instituted a yearly mourning for his loss, when her priests, 
the Corybantes, with their usual noisy accompaniments, 
marched into the mountains to seek the lost youth. 
Having discovered him 1 they gave full vent to their 
ecstatic delight by indulging in the most violent gesticula- 
tions, dancing, shouting, and, at the same time, wounding 
and gashing themselves in a frightful manner. 


In Eome the Greek Ehea was identified with Ops, the 
goddess of plenty, the wife of Saturn, who had a variety 
of appellations. She was called Magna- Mater, Mater- 
Deorum, Berecynthia-Idea, and also Dindymene. This 
latter title she acquired from three high mountains in 
Phrygia, whence she was brought to Eome as Cybele 
during the second Punic war, B.c. 205, in obedience to 
an injunction contained in the Sybilline books. She was 
represented as a matron crowned with towers, seated in 
a chariot drawn by lions. 


We will now return to Zeus and his brothers, who, 
having gained a complete victory over their enemies, 
began to consider how the world, which they had con- 

1 Possibly an image of him placed in readiness. 


quered, should be divided between them. At last it was 
settled by lot that Zeus should reign supreme in Heaven, 
whilst Aides governed the Lower World, and Poseidon 
had full command over the Sea, but the supremacy of 
Zeus was recognized in all three kingdoms, in heaven, on 
earth (in which of course the sea was included), and under 
the earth. Zeus held his court on the top of Mount 
Olympus, whose summit was beyond the clouds; the 
dominions of Aides were the gloomy unknown regions 
below the earth; and Poseidon reigned over the sea. 
It will be seen that the realm of each of these gods 
was enveloped in mystery. Olympus was shrouded in 
mists, Hades was wrapt in gloomy darkness, and the sea 
was, and indeed still is, a source of wonder and deep 
interest. Hence we see that what to other nations were 
merely strange phenomena, served this poetical and im- 
aginative people as a foundation upon which to build the 
wonderful stories of their mythology. 

The division of the world being now satisfactorily 
arranged, it would seem that all things ought to have 
gone on smoothly, but such was not the case. Trouble 
arose in an unlooked-for quarter. The Giants, those 
hideous monsters (some with legs formed of serpents) 
who had sprung from the earth and the blood of Uranus, 
declared war against the triumphant deities of Olympus, 
and a struggle ensued, which, in consequence of Gasa hav- 
ing made these children of hers invincible as long as 
they kept their feet on the ground, was wearisome and 
protracted. Their mother's precaution, however, was 
rendered unavailing by pieces of rock being hurled upon 
them, which threw them down, and their feet being 
no longer placed firmly on their mother-earth, they were 
overcome, and this tedious war (which was called the 
Gigantomacliia) at last came to an end. Among the most 
daring of these earth-born giants were Enceladus, Ehoetus, 
and the valiant Mimas, who, with youthful fire and 
energy, hurled against heaven great masses of rock and 
burning oak-trees, and defied the lightnings of Zeus. One 
of the most powerful monsters who opposed Zeus in this 


war was called Typhon or Typhoeus. He was the young- 
est son of Tartarus and Gsea, and had a hundred heads, 
with eyes which struck terror to the beholders, and awe- 
inspiring voices frightful to hear. This dreadful monster 
resolved to conquer both gods and men, but his plans 
were at length defeated by Zeus, who, after a violent 
encounter, succeeded in destroying him with a thunder- 
bolt, but not before he had so terrified the gods that they 
had fled for refuge to Egypt, where they metamorphosed 
themselves into different animals and thus escaped. 


Just as there were several theories concerning the origin 
of the world, so there were various accounts of the creation 
of man. 

The first natural belief of the Greek people was that 
man had sprung from the earth. They saw the tender 
plants and flowers force their way through the ground 
in the early spring of the year after the frost of winter 
had disappeared, and so they naturally concluded that 
man must also have issued from the earth in a similar 
manner. Like the wild plants and flowers, he was sup- 
posed to have had no cultivation, and resembled in his 
habits the untamed beasts of the field, having no habita- 
tion except that which nature had provided in the holes 
of the rocks, and in the dense forests whose overarching 
boughs protected him from the inclemency of the weather. 

In the course of time these primitive human beings 
became tamed and civilized by the gods and heroes, who 
taught them to work in metals, to build houses, and other 
useful arts of civilization. But the human race became 
in the course of time so degenerate that the gods resolved 
to destroy all mankind by means of a flood; Deucalion 


(son of Prometheus) and his wife Pyrrha, being, on ac- 
count of their piety, the only mortals saved 

By the command of his father, Deucalion built a ship, 
in which he and his wife took refuge during the deluge, 
which lasted for nine days. When the waters abated 
the ship rested on Mount Othrys in Thessaly, or according 
to some on Mount Parnassus. Deucalion and his wife 
now consulted the oracle of Themis as to how the human 
race might be restored. The answer was, that they were 
to cover their heads, and tlirow the bones of their mother 
behind them. For some time they were perplexed as to 
the meaning of the oracular command, but at length both 
agreed that by the bones of their mother were meant the 
stones of the earth. They accordingly took up stones 
from the mountain side and cast them over their shoulders. 
From those thrown by Deucalion there sprang up men, 
and from those thrown by Pyrrha, women. 

After the lapse of time the theory of Autochthony 
(from autos, self, and chthon, earth) was laid aside. When 
this belief existed there were no religious teachers what- 
ever; but in course of time temples were raised in hon- 
our of the different gods, and priests appointed to offer 
sacrifices to them and conduct their worship. These 
priests were looked upon as authorities in all religious 
matters, and the doctrine they taught was, that man had 
been created by the gods, and that there had been several 
successive ages of men, which were called the Golden, 
Silver, Brazen, and Iron Ages. 

Life in the Golden Age was one unceasing round of 
ever-recurring pleasures unmarred by sorrow or care. The 
favoured mortals living at this happy time led pure and 
joyous lives, thinking no evil, and doing no wrong. The 
earth brought forth fruits and flowers without toil or 
labour in plentiful luxuriance, and war was unknown. This 
delightful and god-like existence lasted for hundreds of 
years, and when at length life on earth was ended, death 
laid his hand so gently upon them that they passed pain- 
lessly away in a happy dream, and continued their exist- 
ence as ministering spirits in Hades, watching over and 


protecting those they had loved and left behind on earth. 
The men of the Silver Age 1 were a long time growing up, 
and during their childhood, which lasted a hundred years, 
they suffered from ill-health and extreme debilhy. When 
they at last became men they lived but a short time, for 
they would not abstain from mutual injury, nor pay the 
service due to the gods, and were therefore banished to 
Hades. There, unlike the beings of the Golden Age, they 
exercised no beneficent supervision over the dear ones 
left behind, but wandered about as restless spirits, always 
sighing for the lost pleasures they had enjoyed in life. 

The men of the Brazen Age were quite a different race 
of beings, being as strong and powerful as those of the 
Silver Age were weak and enervated. Everything which 
surrounded them was of brass; their arms, their tools, 
their dwellings, and all that they made. Their characters 
seem to have resembled the metal in which they delighted; 
their minds and hearts were hard, obdurate, and cruel. 
They led a life of strife and contention, introduced, into 
the world, which had hitherto known nothing but peace 
and tranquillity, the scourge of war, and were in fact only 
happy when fighting and quarrelling with each other. 
Hitherto Themis, the goddess of Justice, had been living 
among mankind, but becoming disheartened at their evil 
doings, she abandoned the earth, and winged her flight 
back to heaven. At last the gods became so tired of 
their evil deeds and continual dissensions, that they re- 
moved them from the face of the earth, and sent them 
down to Hades to share the fate of their predecessors. 

We now come to the men of the Iron Age. The 
earth, no longer teeming with fruitfulness, only yielded 
her increase after much toil and labour. The goddess 
of Justice having abandoned mankind, no influence 
remained sufficiently powerful to preserve them from 
every kind of wickedness and sin. This condition grew 
worse as time went on, until at last Zeus in his anger let 
loose the water-courses from above, and drowned every 

1 This age was contemporary with the commencement of the dynasty 
of Zeus. 


individual of this evil race, except Deucalion and 

The theory of Hesiod, 1 the oldest of all the Greek poets, 
was that the Titan Prometheus, the son of lapetus, had 
formed man out of clay, and that Athene had breathed 
a soul into him. Full of love for the beings he had called 
into existence, Prometheus determined to elevate their 
minds and improve their condition in every way; he 
therefore taught them astronomy, mathematics, the alpha- 
bet, how to cure diseases, and the art of divination. He 
created this race in such great numbers that the gods 
began to see the necessity of instituting certain fixed 
laws with regard to the sacrifices due to them, and the 
worship to which they considered themselves entitled 
from mankind in return for the protection which they 
accorded them. An assembly was therefore convened at 
Mecone in order to settle these points. It was decided 
that Prometheus, as the advocate of man, should slay an 
ox, which should be divided into two equal parts, and 
that the gods should select one portion which should 
henceforth, in all future sacrifices, be set apart for them. 
Prometheus so divided the ox that one part consisted of 
the bones (which formed of course the least valuable por- 
tion of the animal), artfully concealed by the white fat; 
whilst the other contained all the edible parts, which he 
covered, with the skin, and on the top of all he laid the 

Zeus, pretending to be deceived, chose the heap of bones, 
but he saw through the stratagem, and was so angry at 
the deception practised on him by Prometheus that he 
avenged himself by refusing to mortals the gift of fire. 

1 Hesiod is said to have lived 850 years before the Christian era, con- 
sequently about -200 years after King David. He Jived in Boestia, 
where his tomb is still shown at Orchomenus. This ancient writer left 
behind him two great poems, one entitled "The Works and Days," in 
which he gives us some of the earliest Greek legends, and the other, 
"The Theogony," containing the genealogies of the gods; but, unfor- 
tunately, both these poems have been so interpolated by the writers 
of the Alexandrian school that they have lost their value as reliable 
pources of information with regard to the early beliefs of the Greek 


Prometheus, however, resolved to brave the anger of the 
great ruler of Olympus, and to obtain from heaven the vital 
spark so necessary for the further progress and comfort of 
the human race. He accordingly contrived to steal some 
sparks from the chariot of the sun, which he conveyed 
to earth hidden in a hollow tube. Furious at being 
again outwitted, Zeus determined to be revenged first 
on mankind, and then on Prometheus. To punish the 
former he commanded Hephaestus (Vulcan) to mould a 
beautiful woman out of clay, and determined that through 
her instrumentality trouble and misery should be brought 
into the world. 

The gods were so charmed with the graceful and artistic 
creation of Hephaestus, that they all determined to endow 
her with some special gift. Hermes (Mercury) bestowed 
on her a smooth persuasive tongue, Aphrodite gave her 
beauty and the art of pleasing; the Graces made her 
fascinating, and Athene (Minerva) gifted her with the 
possession of feminine accomplishments. She was called 
Pandora, which means all-gifted, having received every 
attribute necessary to make her charming and irresistible. 
Thus beautifully formed and endowed, this exquisite 
creature, attired by the Graces, and crowned with flowers 
by the Seasons, was conducted to the house of Epimetheus 1 
by Hermes the messenger of the gods. Now Epimetheus 
had been warned by his brother not to accept any gift 
whatever from the gods; but he was so fascinated by the 
beautiful being who suddenly appeared before him, that 
he welcomed her to his home, and made her his wife. It 
was not long, however, before he had cause to regret his 

He had in his possession a jar of rare workmanship, 
containing all the blessings reserved by the gods for man- 
kind, which he had been expressly forbidden to open. 
But woman's proverbial curiosity could not withstand so 
great a temptation, and Pandora determined to solve the 
mystery at any cost. Watching her opportunity she 
raised the lid, and immediately all the blessings which 

1 Epimetheus signifies after-thought, Prometheus fore-thought. 


the gods had thus reserved for mankind took wing and 
flew away. But all was not lost. Just as Hope (which 
lay at the bottom) was about to escape, Pandora hastily 
closed the lid of the jar, and thus preserved to man that 
never-failing solace which helps him to bear with courage 
the many ills which assail him. 1 

Having punished mankind, Zeus determined to exe- 
cute vengeance on Prometheus. He accordingly chained 
him to a rock in Mount Caucasus, and sent an eagle every 
day to gnaw away his liver, which grew again every night 
ready for fresh torments. For thirty years Prometheus 
endured this fearful punishment; but at length Zeus 
relented, and permitted his son Heracles (Hercules) to 
kill the eagle, and the sufferer was released. 



Zeus, the great presiding deity of the universe, the 
ruler of heaven and earth, was regarded by the Greeks, 
first, as the god of all aerial phenomena; secondly, as 
the personification of the laws of nature; thirdly, as lord 
of state-life; and fourthly, as the father of gods and men. 

As the god of aerial phenomena he could, by shaking 
his ffigis, 3 produce storms, tempests, and intense dark- 
ness. At his command the mighty thunder rolls, the 
lightning flashes, and the clouds open and pour forth 
their refreshing streams to fructify the earth. 

As the personification of the operations of nature, he 
represents those grand laws of unchanging and harmo- 
nious order, by which not only the physical but also 

1 There are various versions of this myth. According to some the jar 
or vase was full of all "the ills which flesh is heir to." 

J From Diaus, the sky. 

3 A sacred shield made for Zeus by Hephaestus, which derived its 
name from being covered by the skin of the goat Amalthea, the word 
gis signifying goafs-skin. 


the moral world is governed. Hence he is the god of 
regulated time as marked by the changing seasons, and 
by the regular succession of day and night, in contradis- 
tinction to his father Cronus, who represents time ab- 
solutely, i.e. eternity. 

As the lord of state-life, he is the founder of kingly 
power, the upholder of all institutions connected with 
the state, and the special friend and patron of princes, 
whom he guards and assists with his advice and counsel. 
He protects the assembly of the people, and, in fact, 
watches over the welfare of the whole community. 

As the father of the gods, Zeus sees that each deity 
performs his or her individual duty, punishes their mis- 
deeds, settles their disputes, and acts towards them on 
all occasions as their all-knowing counsellor and mighty 

As the father of men, he takes a paternal interest in 
the actions and well-being of mortals. He watches over 
them with tender solicitude, rewarding truth, charity, and 
uprightness, but severely punishing perjury, cruelty, and 
want of hospitality. Even the poorest and most forlorn 
wanderer finds in him a powerful advocate, for he, by a 
wise and merciful dispensation, ordains that the mighty 
ones of the earth should succour their distressed and 
needy brethren. 

The Greeks believed that the home of this their 
mighty and all-powerful deity was on the top of Mount 
Olympus, that high and lofty mountain between Thessaly 
and Macedon, whose summit, wrapt in clouds and mist, 
was hidden from mortal view. It was supposed that 
this mysterious region, which even a bird could not 
reach, extended beyond the clouds right into Aether, the 
realm of the immortal gods. The poets describe this 
ethereal atmosphere as bright, glistening, and refreshing, 
exercising a peculiar, gladdening influence over the minds 
and hearts of those privileged beings permitted to share 
its delights. Here youth never ages, and the passing 
years leave no traces on its favoured inhabitants. On 
the cloud-capped summit of Olympus was the palace of 


Zeus and Hera, of burnished gold, chased silver, and 
gleaming ivory. Lower down were the homes of the 
other gods, which, though less commanding in position 
and size, were yet similar to that of Zeus in design and 
workmanship, all being the work of the divine artist 
Hephaestus. Below these were other palaces of silver, 
ebony, ivory, or burnished brass, where the Heroes, or 
Demi-gods, resided. 

As the worship of Zeus formed so important a feature 
in the religion of the Greeks, his statues were necessarily 
both numerous and magnificent. He is usually repre- 
sented as a man of noble and imposing mien, his coun- 
tenance expressing all the lofty majesty of the omnipotent 
ruler of the universe, combined 
with the gracious, yet serious, 
benignity of the father and 
friend of mankind. He may 
be recognized by his rich flow- 
ing beard, and the thick 
masses of hair, which rise 
straight from the high and in- 
tellectual forehead and fall to 
his shoulders in clustering 
locks. The nose is large and 
finely formed, and the slightly- 
opened lips impart an air of 
sympathetic kindliness which 
invites confidence. He is 
always accompanied by an 
eagle, which either surmounts 
his sceptre, or sits at his feet; 
he generally bears in his up- 
lifted hand a sheaf of thunder-bolts, just ready to be 
hurled, whilst in the other he holds the lightning. The 
head is frequently encircled with a wreath of oak-leaves. 
The most celebrated statue t>f the Olympian Zeus was 
that by the famous Athenian sculptor Phidias, which was 
forty feet high, and stood in the temple of Zeus at 
Olympia. It was formed of ivory and gold, and was 


> '.-.*., ~ ---> 


such a masterpiece of art, that it was reckoned among the 
seven wonders of the world. It represented the god, 
seated on a throne, holding in his right hand a life-sized 
image of Nike (the goddess of Victory), and in his left a 
royal sceptre, surmounted by an eagle. It is said that the 
great sculptor had concentrated all the marvellous powers 
of his genius on this sublime conception, and earnestly en- 
treated Zeus to give him a decided proof that his labours 
were approved. An answer to his prayer came through the 
open roof of the temple in the shape of a flash of lightning, 
which Phidias interpreted as a sign that the god of heaven 
was pleased with his work. 

Zeus was first worshipped at Dodona in Epirus, where, 
at the foot of Mount Tomarus, on the woody shore of 
Lake Joanina, was his famous oracle, the most ancient in 
Greece. Here the voice of the eternal and invisible god 
was supposed to be heard in the rustling leaves of a giant 
oak, announcing to mankind the will of heaven and the 
destiny of mortals; these revelations being interpreted to 
the people by the priests of Zeus, who were called Selli. 
Recent excavations which have been made at this spot 
have brought to light the ruins of the ancient temple of 
Zeus, and also, among other interesting relics, some plates 
of lead, on which are engraved inquiries which were evi- 
dently made by certain individuals who consulted the 
oracle. These little leaden plates speak to us, as it were, 
in a curiously homely manner of a by-gone time in the 
buried past. One person inquires what god he should 
apply to for health and fortune; another asks for advice 
concerning his child; and a third, evidently a shepherd, 
promises a gift to the oracle should a speculation in sheep 
turn out successfully. Had these little memorials been of 
gold instead of lead, they would doubtless have shared the 
fate of the numerous treasures which adorned this and 
ether temples, in the universal pillage which took place 
when Greece fell into the hands of barbarians. 

Though Dodona was the most ancient of his shrines, 
the great national seat of the worship of Zeus was at 
Olympia in Elis, where there was a magnificent temple 


dedicated to him, containing the famous colossal statue 
by Phidias above described. Crowds of devout worship- 
pers flocked to this world-renowned fane from all parts of 
Greece, not only to pay homage to their supreme deity, 
but also to join in the celebrated games which were held 
there at intervals of four years. The Olympic games 
were such a thoroughly national institution, that even 
Greeks who had left their native country made a point 
of returning on these occasions, if possible, in order to 
contend with their fellow-countrymen in the various 
athletic sports which took place at these festivals. 

It will be seen on reflection that in a country like 
Greece, which contained so many petty states, often at 
variance with each other, these national gatherings must 
have been most valuable as a means of uniting the Greeks 
in one great bond of brotherhood. On these festive 
occasions the whole nation met together, forgetting for 
the moment all past differences, and uniting in the 
enjoyment of the same festivities. 

It will doubtless have been remarked that in the 
representations of Zeus he is always accompanied by an 
eagle. This royal bird was sacred to him, probably from 
the fact of its being the only creature capable of gazing 
at the sun without being dazzled, which may have sug- 
gested the idea that it was able to contemplate the 
splendour of divine majesty unshrinkingly. 

The oak-tree, and also the summits of mountains, were 
sacred to Zeus. His sacrifices consisted of white bulls, 
cows, and goats. 

Zeus had seven immortal wives, whose names were 
Metis, Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, Mnemosyne, Leto, 
and Hera. 

METIS, his first wife, was one of the Oceanides or sea 
nymphs. She was the personification of prudence and 
wisdom, a convincing proof of which she displayed 
in her successful administration of the potion which 
caused Cronus to yield up his children. She was en- 
dowed with the gift of prophecy, and foretold to Zeus 
that one of their children would gain ascendency over 


him. In order, therefore, to avert the possibility of the 
prediction being fulfilled he swallowed her before any 
children were born to them. Feeling afterwards violent 
pains in his head, he sent for Hephaestus, and ordered 
him to open it with an axe. His command was obeyed, 
and out sprang, with a loud and martial shout, a beautiful 
being, clad in armour from head to foot. This was Athene 
(Minerva), goddess of Armed Resistance and Wisdom. 

THEMIS was the goddess of Justice, Law, and Order. 

EURYNOME was one of the Oceanides, and the mother 
of the Charites or Graces. 

DEMETER, 1 the daughter of Cronus and Ehea, was the 
goddess of Agriculture. 

MNEMOSYNE, the daughter of Uranus and Ga?a, was 
the goddess of Memory and the mother of the nine 

LETO (Latona) was the daughter of Coeus and Phoebe. 
She was gifted with wonderful beauty, and was tenderly 
loved by Zeus, but her lot was far from being a happy 
one, for Hera, being extremely jealous of her, persecuted 
her with inveterate cruelty, and sent the dreadful serpent 
Python 2 to terrify and torment her wherever she went 
But Zeus, who had observed with the deepest compassion 
her weary wanderings and agonized fears, resolved to 
create for her some place of refuge, however humble, 
where she might feel herself safe from the venomous 
attacks of the serpent. He therefore brought her to 
Delos, a floating island in the ^Egean Sea, which he 
made stationary by attaching it with chains of adamant 
to the bottom of the sea. Here she gave birth to her 
twin-children, Apollo and Artemis (Diana), two of the 
most beautiful of the immortals. 

According to some versions of the story of Leto, Zeus 
transformed her into a quail, in order that she might 
thus elude the vigilance of Hera, and she is said to have 

1 See Demeter. 

3 This frightful monster had sprung from the slimy and stagnant 
waters which remained on the surface of the earth after the deluge of 


resumed her true form when she arrived at the island of 

HERA, being the principal wife of Zeus and queen 
of heaven, a detailed account will be given of her in a 
special chapter. 

In the union of Zeus with most of his immortal wives 
we shall find that an allegorical meaning is conveyed. His 
marriage with Metis, who is said to have surpassed both 
gods and men in knowledge, represents supreme power 
allied to wisdom and prudence. His union with Themis 
typifies the bond which exists between divine majesty 
and justice, law, and order. Eurynome, as the mother 
of the Charites or Graces, supplied the refining and har- 
monizing influences of grace and beauty, whilst the 
marriage of Zeus with Mnemosyne typifies the union of 
genius with memory. 

In addition to the seven immortal wives of Zeus, he 
was also allied to a number of mortal maidens whom he 
visited under various disguises, as it was supposed that 
if he revealed himself in his true form as king of heaven 
the splendour of his glory would cause instant destruc- 
tion to mortals. The mortal consorts of Zeus have been 
such a favourite theme with poets, painters, and sculp- 
tors, that it is necessary to give some account of their 
individual history. Those best known are Antiope, Leda, 
Europa, Callisto, Alcmene, Semele, lo, and Danae. 

ANTIOPE, to whom Zeus appeared under the form of a 
satyr, was the daughter of Xicteus, king of Thebes. To 
escape the anger of her father she fled to Sicyon, where 
king Epopeus, enraptured with her wonderful beauty, 
made her his wife without asking her father's consent. 
This so enraged Xicteus that he declared war against 
Epopeus, in order to compel him to restore Antiope. At 
his death, which took place before he could succeed in 
his purpose, Xicteus left his kingdom to his brother 
Lycus, commanding him, at the same time, to carry on 
the war, and execute his vengeance. Lycus invaded 
Sicyon, defeated and killed Epopeus, and brought back 


Antiope as a prisoner. On the way to Thebes she gave 
birth to her twin-sons, Amphion and Zethus, who, by the 
orders of Lycus, were at once exposed on Mount Cith- 
aeron, and would have perished but for the kindness of 
a shepherd, who took pity on them and preserved their 
lives. Antiope was, for many years, held captive by her 
uncle Lycus, and compelled to suffer the utmost cruelty 
at the hands of his wife Dirce. But one day her bonds 
were miraculously loosened, and she flew for shelter and 
protection to the humble dwelling of her sons on Mount 
Cithaeron. During the long period of their mother's 
captivity the babes had grown into sturdy youths, and, 
as they listened angrily to the story of her wrongs, they 
became all impatience to avenge them. Setting off at 
once to Thebes they succeeded in possessing themselves 
of the town, and after slaying the cruel Lycus they 
bound Dirce by the hair to the horns of a wild bull, 
which dragged her hither and thither until she expired. 
Her mangled body was cast into the fount near Thebes, 
Avhich still bears her name. Amphion became king of 
Thebes in his uncle's stead. He was a friend of the 
Muses, and devoted to music and poetry. His brother, 
Zethus, was famous for his skill in archery, and was 
passionately fond of the chase. It is said that when 
Amphion wished to inclose the town of Thebes with 
walls and towers, he had but to play a sweet melody on 
the lyre, given to him by Hermes, and the huge stones 
began to move, and obediently fitted themselves together. 

The punishment of Dirce at the hands of Amphion 
and Zethus forms the subject of the world-renowned 
marble group in the museum at Naples, known by the 
name of the Farnese Bull. 

In sculpture Amphion is always represented with a 
lyre; Zethus with a club. 

LED A, whose affections Zeus won under the form of a 
swan, was the daughter of Thestius, king of ^Etolia. 
Her twin-sons, Castor and (Poly deuces or) Pollux, 1 were 

1 Castor and Pollux were known by the name of the Dioscuri, from 
diot, gods, and htroi, youths. 

(781 C 


renowned for their tender attachment to each other. 
They were also famous for their physical accomplish- 
ments, Castor being the most expert charioteer of his 
day, and Pollux the first of pugilists; Their names ap- 
pear both among the hunters of the Calydonian boar- 
hunt and the heroes of the Argonautic expedition. The 
brothers became attached to the daughters of Leucippus, 
prince of the Messenians, who had been betrothed by 
their father to Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus. 
Having persuaded Leucippus to break his promise, the 
twins carried off the maidens as their brides. Idas and 
Lynceus, naturally furious at this proceeding, challenged 
the Dioscuri to mortal combat, in which Castor perished 
by the hand of Idas, and Lynceus by that of Pollux. 
Zeus wished to confer the gift of immortality upon Pollux, 
but he refused to accept it unless allowed to share it with 
Castor. Zeus gave the desired permission, and the faith- 
ful brothers were both allowed to live, but only on 
alternate days. The Dioscuri received divine honours 
throughout Greece, and were worshipped with special 
reverence at Sparta. 

EUROPA was the beautiful daughter of Agenor, king 
of Phoenicia. She was one day gathering flowers with 
her companions in a meadow near the sea-shore, when 
Zeus, charmed with her great beauty, and wishing to 
win her love, transformed himself into a beautiful white 
bull, and trotted quietly up to the princess, so as not to 
alarm her. Surprised at the gentleness of the animal, and 
admiring its beauty, as it lay placidly on the grass, she 
caressed it, crowned it with flowers, and, at last, playfully 
seated herself on its back Hardly had she done so 
than the disguised god bounded away with his lovely 
burden, and swam across the sea with her to the island 
of Crete. 

Europa was the mother of Minos, Aeacus, and Khada- 
manthus. Minos, who became king of Crete, was cele- 
brated for his justice and moderation, and after death he 
was created one of the judges of the lower world, which 
office he held in conjunction with his brothers. 


CALLISTO, the daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia, 
was a huntress in the train of Artemis, devoted to the 
pleasures of the chase, who had made a vow never to 
marry; but Zeus, under the form of the huntress-goddess, 
succeeded in obtaining her affections. Hera, being ex- 
tremely jealous of her, changed her into a bear, and caused 
Artemis (who failed to recognize her attendant under this 
form) to hunt her in the chase, and put an end to her 
existence. After her death she was placed by Zeus among 
the stars as a constellation, under the name of Arctos, or 
the bear. 

ALCMENE, the daughter of Electryon, king of Mycenae, 
was betrothed to her cousin Amphytrion; but, during his 
absence on a perilous undertaking, Zeus assumed his form, 
and obtained her affections. Heracles (whose world- 
renowned exploits will be related among the legends) was 
the son of Alcmene and Zeus. 

SEMELE, a beautiful princess, the daughter of Cadmus, 
king of Phoenicia, was greatly beloved by Zeus. Like 
the unfortunate Callisto, she was hated by Hera with 
jealous malignity, and the haughty queen of heaven 
determined to effect her destruction. Disguising herself, 
therefore, as Berce, Semele's faithful old nurse, she art- 
fully persuaded her to insist upon Zeus visiting her, as 
he appeared to Hera, in all his power and glory, well 
knowing that this would cause her instant death. Semele, 
suspecting no treachery, followed the advice of her sup- 
posed nurse; and the next time Zeus came to her, she 
earnestly entreated him to grant the favour she was 
about to ask Zeus swore by the Styx (which was to the 
gods an irrevocable oath) to accede to her request what- 
soever it might be. Semele, therefore, secure of gaining 
her petition, begged of Zeus to appear to her in all the 
glory of his divine power and majesty. As he had sworn 
to grant whatever she asked of him, he was compelled to 
comply with her wish; he therefore revealed himself as 
the mighty lord of the universe, accompanied by thunder 
and lightning, and she was instantly consumed in the 


IO, daughter of Inachus, king of Argos, was a prnstess 
of Hera. She was very beautiful, and Zeus, who was much 
attached to her, transformed her into a white cow, in order 
to defeat the jealous intrigues of Hera, who, however, was 
not to be deceived. Aware of the stratagem, she con- 
trived to obtain the animal from Zeus, and placed her 
under the watchful care of a man called Argus-Panoptes, 
who fastened her to an olive-tree in the grove of Hera. 
He had a hundred eyes, of which, when asleep, he never 
closed more than two at a time; being thus always on 
the watch, Hera found him extremely useful in keeping 
guard over lo. Hermes, however, by the command of 
Zeus, succeeded in putting all his eyes to sleep with the 
sound of his magic lyre, and then, taking advantage of 
his helpless condition, slew him. The story goes, that in 
commemoration of the services which Argus had rendered 
her, Hera placed his eyes on the tail of a peacock, as a 
lasting memorial of her gratitude. Ever fertile in resource, 
Hera now sent a gadfly to worry and torment the unfor- 
tunate lo incessantly, and she wandered all over the world 
in hopes of escaping from her tormentor. At length she 
reached Egypt, where she found rest and freedom from 
the persecutions of her enemy. On the banks of the Nile 
she resumed her original form and gave birth to a son 
called Epaphus, who afterwards became king of Egypt, 
and built the famous city of Memphis. 

DANAE. Zeus appeared to Danae under the form of a 
shower of gold. (Further details concerning her will be 
found in the legend of Perseus.) 

The Greeks supposed that the divine ruler of the 
Universe occasionally assumed a human form, and de- 
scended from his celestial abode, in order to visit man- 
kind and observe their proceedings, his aim being 
generally either to punish the guilty, or to reward the 

On one occasion Zeus, accompanied by Hermes, made 
a journey through Phrygia, seeking hospitality and shelter 
wherever they went But nowhere did they receive a 


kindly welcome till they came to the humble cottage of 
an old man and his wife called Philemon and Baucis, 
who entertained them with the greatest kindness, setting 
before them what frugal fare their humble means per- 
mitted, and bidding them welcome with unaffected 
cordiality. Observing in the course of their simple 
repast that the wine bowl was miraculously replenished, 
the aged couple became convinced of the divine nature of 
their guests. The gods now informed them that on 
account of its wickedness their native place was doomed 
to destruction, and told them to climb the neighbouring 
hill with them, which overlooked the village where they 
dwelt. What was their dismay on beholding at their feet, 
in place of the spot where they had passed so many happy 
years together, nothing but a watery plain, the only house 
to be seen being their own little cottage, which suddenly 
changed itself into a temple before their eyes. Zeus now 
asked the worthy pair to name any wish they particularly 
desired and it should be granted. They accordingly begged 
that they might serve the gods in the temple below, and 
end life together. 

Their wish was granted, for, after spending the re- 
mainder of their lives in the worship of the gods, they 
both died at the same instant, and were transformed by 
Zeus into trees, remaining for ever side by side. 

Upon another occasion Zeus, wishing to ascertain for 
himself the truth of the reports concerning the atrocious 
wickedness of mankind, made a journey through Arcadia. 
Being recognized by the Arcadians as king of heaven, 
he was received by them with becoming respect and 
veneration; but Lycaon, their king, who had rendered 
himself infamous by the gross impiety of himself and his 
sons, doubted the divinity of Zeus, ridiculed his people 
for being so easily duped, and, according to his custom 
of killing all strangers who ventured to trust his hospi- 
tality, resolved to murder him. Before executing this 
wicked design, however, he decided to put Zeus to the 
test, and having killed a boy for the purpose, placed be- 
fore hi MI a dish containing human flesh. But Zeus was 


not to be deceived. He beheld the revolting dish with 
horror and loathing, and angrily upsetting the table upon 
which it was placed, turned Lycaon into a wolf, and de- 
stroyed all his fifty sons by lightning, except Jsyctimus, 
who was saved by the intervention of Gaea. 


The Roman Jupiter, who is so frequently confounded 
with the Greek Zeus, is identical with him only as being 
the head of the Olympic gods, and the presiding deity 
over Life, Light, and Aerial Phenomena. Jupiter is lord 
of life in its widest and most comprehensive significa- 
tion, having absolute power over life and death, in which 
respect he differed from the Greek Zeus, who was to a 
certain extent controlled by the all-potent sway of the 
Moirae or Fates. Zeus, as we have seen, often conde- 
scends to visit mankind, either as a mortal, or under 
various disguises, whereas Jupiter always remains essen- 
tially the supreme god of heaven, and never appears 
upon earth. 

The most celebrated temple of Jupiter was that on the 
Capitoline Hill in the city of Rome, where he was wor- 
shipped under the names of Jupiter-Optimus-Maximus, 
Capitolinus, and Tarpeius. 

The Romans represented him seated on a throne of 
ivory, holding in his right hand a sheaf of thunderbolts, 
and in his left a sceptre, whilst an eagle stands beside 
his throne. 


Hera, the eldest daughter of Cronus and Rhea, was 
born at Samos, or, according to some accounts, at Argos, 
and was reared by the sea-divinities Oceanus and Tethys, 
who were models of conjugal fidelity. 1 She was the prin- 

1 The ancient Greeks attributed much of the subsequent character of 
an individual to early influences ; hence Hera, the future queen and 
mistress of heaven, is represented as being brought up in a domes- 
ticated and orderly household, where home virtues are carefully 

HERA (JUNO). 39 

cipal wife of Zeus, and, as queen of heaven, participated 
in the honours paid to him, but her dominion only ex- 
tended over the air (the lower aerial regions). Hera 
appears to be the sublime embodiment of strict matronly 
virtue, and is on that account the protectress of purity 
and married women. Faultless herself in her fidelity 
as a wife, she is essentially the type of the sanctity of 
the marriage tie, and holds in abhorrence any violation 
of its obligations. So strongly was she imbued with 
this hatred of any immorality, that, finding herself so 
often called upon to punish the failings of both gods 
and men in this respect, she became jealous, harsh, and 
vindictive. Her exalted position as the wife of the 
supreme deity, combined with her extreme beauty, caused 
her to become exceedingly vain, and she consequently 
resented with great severity any infringement on her 
rights as queen of heaven, or any apparent slight on her 
personal appearance. 

The following story will signally illustrate how ready 
she was to resent any slight offered to her. 

At the marriage of the sea-nymph Thetis with a mortal 
called Peleus, all the gods and goddesses were present, 
except Eris (the goddess of Discord). Indignant at not 
being invited, she determined to cause dissension in the 
assembly, and for this purpose threw into the midst of 
the guests a golden apple with the inscription on it "For 
the Fairest." Now, as all the goddesses were extremely 
beautiful, each claimed the apple; but at length, the rest 
having relinquished their pretensions, the number of 
candidates was reduced to three, Hera, Athene, and 
Aphrodite, who agreed to appeal to Paris for a settlement 
of this delicate question, he being noted for the wisdom 
he had displayed in his judgment upon several occa- 
sions. Paris was the son of Priam, king of Troy, who, 
ignorant of his noble birth, was at this time feeding his 
flocks on Mount Ida, in Phrygia. Hermes, as mes- 
senger of the gods, conducted the three rival beauties 
to the young shepherd, and with breathless anxiety they 
awaited his decision. Each fair candidate endeavoured 


to secure his favour by the most tempting offers. Hera 
promised him extensive dominions; Athene, martial fame 
and glory; and Aphrodite, the loveliest woman in the 
world. But whether he really considered Aphrodite the 
fairest of the three, or preferred a beautiful wife to 
fame and power, we cannot tell; all we know is that to 
her he awarded the golden apple, and she became ever 
after universally acknowledged as the goddess of beauty. 
Hera, having fully expected that Paris would give her the 
preference, was so indignant that she never forgave him, 
and not only persecuted him, but all the family of Priam, 
whose dreadful sufferings and misfortunes during the 
Trojan war were attributed to her influence. In fact, 
she carried her animosity to such an extent that it was 
often the cause of domestic disagreements between her- 
self and Zeus, who espoused the cause of the Trojans. 

Among the many stories of these frequent quarrels there 
is one connected with Heracles, the favourite son of Zeus, 
which is as follows : Hera having raised a storm at sea 
in order to drive him out of his course, Zeus became so 
angry that he hung her in the clouds by a golden chain, 
and attached heavy anvils to her feet. Her son Hephsestus 
tried to release his mother from her humiliating position, 
for which Zeus threw him out of heaven, and his leg was 
broken by the fall. 

Hera, being deeply offended with Zeus, determined to 
separate herself from him for ever, and she accordingly 
left him and took up her abode in Euboea. Surprised and 
grieved at this unlooked-for desertion, Zeus resolved to 
leave no means untried to win her back agaia In this 
emergency he consulted Cithaeron, king of Platea, who 
was famed for his great wisdom and subtlety. Cithaeron 
advised him to dress up an image in bridal attire and 
place it in a chariot, announcing that this was Platea, his 
future wife. The artifice succeeded. Hera, incensed at 
the idea of a rival, flew to meet the procession in great 
anger, and seizing the supposed bride, she furiously 
attacked her and dragged off her nuptial attire. Her 
delight on discovering the deception was so great that a 



reconciliation took place, and, committing the image to 
the flames, with joyful laughter she seated herself in its 
place and returned to Olympus. 

Hera was the mother of Ares (Mars), Hephaestus, Hebe, 
and Eileithyia. Ares was the god of War; Hephaestus, 
of Fire; Hebe, of Youth; and Eileithyia presided over the 
birth of mortals. 

Hera dearly loved Greece, and indeed always watched 
over and protected Greek interests, her beloved and 
favourite cities being Argos, Samos, Sparta, and Mycenae. 
Her principal temples were at Argos and Samos. 
From a remote period she was greatly venerated at 
Olympia, and her temple there, which stood in the Altis 
or sacred grove, was five hundred years older than that 
of Zeus on the same spot. Some interesting excavations 
which are now going on there have brought to light 
the remains of the ancient edifice, wh'ich contains among 
other treasures of antiquity 
several beautiful statues, 
the work of the famous 
sculptors of ancient Greece. 
At first this temple was 
built of wood, then of stone, 
and the one lately dis- 
covered was formed of con- 
glomerate of shells. 

In the Altis races were 
run by young maidens in 
honour of Hera, and the 
fleetest of foot received in 

token of her victory an olive- 
wreath and a piece of the 
flesh of the sacrifices. These 
races, like the Olympic 
Games, were celebrated at 
intervals of four years, and 
were called Herae. A beau- 
tiful robe, woven by sixteen women chosen from the six- 
teen cities of Elis, was always ottered to Hera on these 


occasions, and choral songs and sacred dances formed 
part of the ceremonies. 

Hera is usually represented seated on a throne, holding 
a pomegranate in one hand and a sctfptre surmounted 
by a cuckoo in the other. She appears as a calm, dignified 
matron of majestic beauty, robed in a tunic and mantle, 
her forehead is broad and intellectual, her eyes large and 
fully opened, and her arms dazzlingly white and finely 

The finest statue of this divinity was that by Polycletus 
at Argos. 

Her attributes are the diadem, veil, sceptre, and pea- 

The first day of every month a ewe-lamb and sow 
were sacrificed to Hera. The hawk, goose, and more 
particularly the peacock 1 were sacred to her. Flocks 
of these beautiful birds generally surround her throne 
and draw her chariot, Ins, the Rainbow, being seated 
behind her. 

Her favourite flowers were the dittany, poppy, and Ifly. 


Juno, the Roman divinity supposed to be identical 
with the Greek Hera, differed from her in the most 
salient points, for whereas Hera invariably appears as the 
haughty, unbending queen of heaven, Juno, on the other 
hand, is revered and beloved is the type of a matron and 
housewife. She was worshij ped in Rome under various 
titles, most of which point to her vocation as the protect- 
ress of married women. Juno was believed to watch over 
and guard the life of every woman from her birth to her 
death. The principal temples dedicated to her were in 
Rome, one being erected on the Aventine, and the other 
on the Capitoline HilL She had also a temple on the Arx, 
in which she was worshipped as Juno Moneta, or the warn- 

In the Homeric age peacocks were unknown; it is therefore the 
later poets who describe Hen surrounded with peacocks, which wet* 
hroagfat to Greece from India. 


ing goddess. Adjacent to this shrine was the public mint 1 
On the 1st of March a grand annual festival, called the 
Matronalia, was celebrated in her honour by all the mar- 
ried women of Rome, and this religious institution was 
accompanied with much solemnity. 2 


Pallas-Athene, goddess of Wisdom and Armed Resist- 
ance, was a purely Greek divinity: that is to say, no 
other nation possessed a corresponding conception. She 
was supposed, as already related, to have issued from the 
head of Zeus himself, clad in armour from head to foot. 
The miraculous advent of this maiden goddess is beauti- 
fully described by Homer in one of his hymns: snow- 
capped Olympus shook to its foundation; the glad earth 
re-echoed her martial shout; the billowy sea became agi- 
tated ; and Helios, the sun-god, arrested his fiery steeds in 
their headlong course to welcome this wonderful emanation 
from the godhead. Athene was at once admitted into 
the assembly of the gods, and henceforth took her place 
as the most faithful and sagacious of all her father's coun- 
sellors. This brave, dauntless maiden, so exactly the 
essence of all that is noble in the character of " the father 
of gods and men," remained throughout chaste in word 
and deed, and kind at heart, without exhibiting any of 
those failings which somewhat mar the nobler features 
in the character of Zeus. This direct emanation from 
his own self, justly his favourite child, his better and 
purer counterpart, received from him several import- 
ant prerogatives. She was permitted to hurl the thun- 
derbolts, to prolong the life of man, and to bestow 
the gift of prophecy; in fact Athene was the only 
divinity whose authority was equal to that of Zeus him- 
self, and when he had ceased to visit the earth in person 

1 This circumstance has given rise to the erroneous conclusion that 
Juno presided over the finances of the state, but the word motteta is 
derived from the Latin monere, which means to warn or admonish. 

1 See Roman Festivals. 


she was empowered by him to act as his deputy. It was 
her especial duty to protect the state and all peaceful 
associations of mankind, which she possessed the power of 
defending when occasion required. She encouraged the 
maintenance of law and order, and defended the right on 
all occasions, for which reason, in the Trojan war she 
espouses the cause of the Greeks and exerts all her influ- 
ence on their behalf. The Areopagus, a court of justice 
where religious causes and murders were tried, was be- 
lieved to have been instituted by her, and when both 
sides happened to have an equal number of votes she gave 
the casting-vote in favour of the accused. She was the 
patroness of learning, science, and art, more particularly 
where these contributed directly towards the welfare of 
nations. She presided over all inventions connected with 
agriculture, invented the plough, and taught mankind 
how to use oxen for farming purposes. She also in- 
structed mankind in the use of numbers, trumpets, 
chariots, &c., and presided over the building of the Argo, 1 
thereby encouraging the useful art of navigation. She 
also taught the Greeks how to build the wooden horse 
by means of which the destruction of Troy was 

The safety of cities depended on her care, for which 
reason her temples were generally built on the citadels, and 
she was supposed to watch over the defence of the walls, 
fortifications, harbours, &c. A divinity who so faithfully 
guarded the best interests of the state, by not only pro- 
tecting it from the attacks of enemies, but also by devel- 
oping its chief resources of wealth and prosperity, was 
worthily chosen as the presiding deity of the state, and 
in this character as an essentially political goddess she 
was called Athene-Polias. 

The fact of Athene having been born clad in armour, 
which merely signified that her -virtue and purity were 
unassailable, has given rise to the erroneous supposition 
that she was the presiding goddess of war; but a deeper 

1 The first large ship possessed by the Greeks fit for more than coast 


study of her character in all its bearings proves that, in 
contradistinction to her brother Ares, the god of war, 
who loved strife for its own sake, she only takes up 
arms to protect the innocent and deserving against tyran- 
nical oppression. It is true that in the Iliad we frequently 
see her on the battlefield fighting valiantly, and protecting 
her favourite heroes; but this is always at the command 
of Zeus, who even supplies her with arms for the purpose, 
as it is supposed that she possessed none of her own. A 
marked feature in the representations of this deity is the 
aegis, that wonderful shield given to her by her father 
as a further means of defence, which, when in danger, she 
swung so swiftly round and round that it kept at a dis- 
tance all antagonistic influences; hence her name Pallas, 
from pallo, I swing. In the centre of this shield, which 
was covered with dragon's scales, bordered with serpents, 
and which she sometimes wore as a breastplate, was the 
awe-inspiring head of the Medusa, which had the effect 
of turning to stone all beholders. 

In addition to the many functions which she ex- 
ercised in connection Avith the state, Athene presided 
over the two chief departments of feminine industry, 
spinning and weaving. In the latter art she herself dis- 
played unrivalled ability and exquisite taste. She wove 
her own robe and that of Hera, which last she is said 
to have embroidered very richly; she also gave Jason a 
cloak wrought by herself, when he set forth in quest of 
the Golden Fleece. Being on one occasion challenged 
to a contest in this accomplishment by a mortal maiden 
named Arachne, whom she had instructed in the art of 
weaving, she accepted the challenge and was completely 
vanquished by her pupil. Angry at her defeat, she struck 
the unfortunate maiden on the forehead with the shuttle 
which she held in her hand; and Arachne, being of a sen- 
sitive nature, was so hurt by this indignity that she hung 
herself in despair, and was changed by Athene into a spider. 
This goddess is said to have invented the flute, 1 upon 

1 When Perseus, with the help of Athene, had cut off the head of the 
Medusa, the two sisters caused a sad dirge-like song to issue from the 


which she played with considerable talent, until one day, 
being laughed at by the assembled gods and goddesses 
for the contortions which her countenance assumed dur- 
ing these musical efforts, she hastily ran to a fountain 
in order to convince herself Avh ether she deserved their 
ridicule. Finding to her intense disgust that such was 
indeed the fact, she threw the flute away, and never 
raised it to her lips again. 

Athene is usually represented fully draped; she has a 
serious and thoughtful aspect, as though replete with 
earnestness and wisdom ; 
the beautiful oval contour 
of her countenance is 
adorned by the luxuriance 
of her wealth of hair, 
which is drawn back from 
the temples and hangs 
down in careless grace; 
she looks the embodiment 
of strength, grandeur, and 
majesty; whilst her broad 
shoulders and small hips 
give her a slightly mascu- 
line appearance. 

When represented as 
the war-goddess she ap- 
pears clad in armour, with 
a helmet on her head, from 
which waves a large plume; she carries the aegis on her 
arm, and in her hand a golden staff, which possessed 
the property of endowing her chosen favourites with 
youth and dignity. 

Athene was universally worshipped throughout Greece, 
but was regarded with special veneration by the Athenians, 
she being the guardian deity of Athens. Her most cele- 
brated temple was the Parthenon, which stood on the 

mouths of the many snakes of which their hair was composed, where- 
upon Athene, pleased with the sound, imitated the melody on a reed, 
and thus invented the flute. 


Acropolis at Athens, and contained her world-renowned 
statue by Phidias, which ranks second only to that of 
Zeus by the same great artist. This colossal statue was 
39 feet high, and was composed of ivory and gold; its 
majestic beauty formed the chief attraction of the temple. 
It represented her standing erect, bearing her spear and 
shield; in her hand she held an image of Nike, and at 
her feet there lay a serpent. 

The tree sacred to her was the olive, which she herself 
produced in a contest with Poseidon. The olive-tree thus 
called into existence was preserved in the temple of Erec- 
theus, on the Acropolis, and is said to have possessed such 
marvellous vitality, that when the Persians burned it after 
sacking the town it immediately burst forth into new 

The principal festival held in honour of this divinity 
was the Panathensea. 

The owl, cock, and serpent were the animals sacred to 
her, and her sacrifices were 
rams, bulls, and cows. 


The Minerva of the 
Romans was identified with 
the Pallas -Athene of the 
Greeks. Like her she pre- 
sides over learning and all 
useful arts, and is the 
patroness of the feminine 
accomplishments of sew- 
ing, spinning, weaving, &c. 
Schools were under her 
especial care, and school- 
boys, therefore, had holi- 
days during her festivals 
(the Greater Quinquatria), 

when they always brought a gift to their master, called 

the Minerval. 

It is worthy of notice that the only three divinities 


worshipped in the Capitol were Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, 
and in their joint honour the Ludi Maximi or great games 
were held. 


Themis, who has already been alluded to as the wife 
of Zeus, was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and 
personified those divine laws of justice and order by 
means of which the well-being and morality of commu- 
nities are regulated. She presided over the assemblies of 
the people and the laws of hospitality. To her was in- 
trusted the office of convoking the assembly of the gods, 
and she was also mistress of ritual and ceremony. On 
account of her great wisdom Zeus himself frequently 
sought her counsel and acted upon her advice. Themis 
was a prophetic divinity, and had an oracle near the river 
Cephissus in Bceotia. 

She is usually represented as being in the full 
maturity of womanhood, of fair aspect, and wearing 
a flowing garment, which drapes her noble, majestic 
form; in her right hand she holds the sword of justice, 
and in her left the scales, which indicate the impartiality 
with which every cause is carefully weighed by her, her 
eyes being bandaged so that the personality of the indi- 
vidual should carry no weight with respect to the verdict. 

This divinity is sometimes identified with Tyche, 
sometimes with Ananke. 

Themis, like so many other Greek divinities, takes the 
place of a more ancient deity of the same name who 
was a daughter of Uranus and Gaea. This elder Themis 
inherited from her mother the gift of prophecy, and when 
she became merged into her younger representative she 
transmitted to her this prophetic power. 


Hestia was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. She 
was the goddess of Fire in its first application to the wants 
of mankind, hence she was essentially the presiding deity 


of the domestic hearth and the guardian spirit of man, 
and it was her pure and benign influence which was sup- 
posed to protect the sanctity of domestic life. 

Now in these early ages the hearth was regarded as the 
most important and most sacred portion of the dwelling, 
probably because the protection of the fire was an impor- 
tant consideration, for if once permitted to become ex- 
tinct, re-ignition was attended with extreme difficulty. 
In fact, the hearth was held so sacred that it constituted 
the sanctum of the family, for which reason it was always 
erected in the centre of every house. It was a feAv 
feet in height and was built of stone; the fire was placed 
OB the top of it, and served the double purpose of pre- 
paring the daily meals, and consuming the family sacrifices. 
Kound this domestic hearth or altar were gathered the 
various members of the family, the head of the house 
occupying the place of honour nearest the hearth. Here 
prayers were said and sacrifices offered, and here also 
every kind and loving feeling was fostered, which even 
extended to the hunted and guilty stranger, who, if he 
once succeeded in touching this sacred altar, was safe from 
pursuit and punishment, and was henceforth placed under 
the protection of the family. Any crime committed within 
the sacred precincts of the domestic hearth was invariably 
visited by death. 

In Grecian cities there was a common hall, called the 
Prytaneum, in which the members of the government 
had their meals at the expense of the state, and here too 
was the Hestia, or public hearth, with its fire, by means 
of which those meals were prepared. It was customary 
for emigrants to take with them a portion of this sacred 
fire, which they jealously guarded and brought with them 
to their new home, where it served as a connecting link 
between the young Greek colony and the mother coun- 
try. Hestia is generally represented standing, and 
in accordance with the dignity and sanctity of her 
character, always appears fully draped. Her counten- 
ance is distinguished by a serer.e gravity of expres- 

(73) D 




Vesta occupies a distinguished 
place among the earlier divini- 
ties of the Romans. Her temple 
in Rome, containing as it were 
the hearthstone of the nation, 
stood close beside the palace of 
Numa Pompilius. 

On her altar burned the never- 
ceasing fire, which was tended 
by her priestesses, the Vestal 
Virgins. 1 

The temple of Vesta was cir- 
cular in form, and contained 
that sacred and highly prized 
treasure the Palladium of Troy. 2 

The great festival in honour 
of Vesta, called the Vestalia, was 
celebrated on the 9th of June. 


Demeter (from Ge -meter, earth -mother) was the 
daughter of Cronus and Rhea. 3 She represented that 
portion of Gsea (the whole solid earth) which we call 
the earth's crust, and which produces all vegetation. As 
goddess of agriculture, field-fruits, plenty, and productive- 
ness, she was the sustainer of material life, and was there- 
fore a divinity of great importance. When ancient Gsea 
lost, with Uranus, her position as a ruling divinity, she 
abdicated her sway in favour of her daughter Rhea, who 
henceforth inherited the powers which her mother had 
previously possessed, receiving in her place the honour 
and worship of mankind. In a very old poem Gaea is 
accordingly described as retiring to a cavern in the bowels 

1 For details see Roman Festivals. 
a See Legend of Troy. 

3 Some, with but little reason, make Demeter the daughter of Uranus 
and Gsea. 



of the earth, where she sits in the lap of her daughter, 
slumbering, moaning, and nodding for ever and ever. 

It is necessary to keep clearly in view the distinctive 
difference between the three great earth-goddesses G&&, 
Rhea, and Demeter. Gsea represents the earth as a whole, 
with its mighty subterranean forces; Rhea is that produc- 
tive power which causes vegetation to spring forth, thus 
sustaining men and animals; Demeter, by presiding 
over agriculture, directs and utilizes Rhea's productive 
powers. But in later times, when Rhea, like other ancient 
divinities, loses her importance as a ruling deity, Demeter 
assumes all her functions and attributes, and then becomes 
the goddess of the life-producing and life-maintaining 
earth-crust. We must bear in mind the fact that man in 
his primitive state knew neither how to sow nor how to 
till the ground; when, therefore, he had exhausted the 
pastures which surrounded him he was compelled to seek 
others which were as yet unreaped; thus, roaming con- 
stantly from one place to another, settled habitations, and 
consequently civilizing influences, 
were impossible. Demeter, how- 
ever, by introducing a knowledge 
of agriculture, put an end, at once 
and for ever, to that nomadic 
life which was now no longer 

The favour of Demeter was be- 
lieved to bring mankind rich har- 
vests and fruitful crops, whereas 
her displeasure caused blight, 
drought, and famine. The island 
of Sicily was supposed to be under 
her especial protection, and there 
she was regarded with particular 
veneration, the Sicilians natur- 
ally attributing the wonderful 
fertility of their country to the 
partiality of the goddess. 

Demeter is usually represented as a woman of noble 


bearing and majestic appearance, tall, matronly, and 
dignified, with beautiful golden hair, which falls in 
rippling curls over her stately shoulders, the yellow locks 
being emblematical of the ripened ears of corn. Some- 
times she appears seated in a chariot drawn by winged 
dragons, at others she stands erect, her figure drawn up 
to its full height, and always fully draped; she bears 
a sheaf of wheat-ears in one hand and a lighted torch in 
the other. The wheat-ears are not unfrequently replaced 
by a bunch of poppies, with which her brows are also 
garlanded, though sometimes she merely wears a simple 
riband in her hair. 

Demeter, as the wife of Zeus, became the mother 
of Persephone (Proserpine), to whom she was so ten- 
derly attached that her whole life was bound up in her, 
and she knew no happiness except in her society. One 
day, however, whilst Persephone was gathering flowers 
in a meadow, attended by the ocean-nymphs, she saw 
to her surprise a beautiful narcissus, from the stem of 
which sprang forth a hundred blossoms. Drawing near 
to examine this lovely flower, whose exquisite scent per- 
fumed the air, she stooped down to gather it, suspecting 
no evil, when a yawning abyss opened at her feet, and 
Aides, the grim ruler of the lower world, appeared from 
its depths, seated in his dazzling chariot drawn by four 
black horses. Kegardless of her tears and the shrieks of 
her female attendants, Aides seized the terrified maiden, 
and bore her away to the gloomy realms over which he 
reigned in melancholy grandeur. Helios, the all-seeing 
sun-god, and Hecate, a mysterious and very ancient divi- 
nity, alone heard her cries for aid, but were powerless to 
help her. When Demeter became conscious of her loss 
her grief was intense, and she refused to be comforted. 
She knew not where to seek for her child, but feeling 
that repose and inaction were impossible, she set out on 
her weary search, taking with her two torches which she 
lighted in the flames of Mount Etna to guide her on her 
way. For nine long days and nights she wandered on, 
inquiring of every one she met for tidings of her child. 


But all was in vain ! Neither gods nor men could give 
her the comfort which her soul so hungered for. At last, 
on the tenth day, the disconsolate mother met Hecate, who 
informed her that she had heard her daughter's cries, but 
knew not who it was that had borne her away. By 
Hecate's advice Demeter consulted Helios, whose all- 
seeing eye nothing escapes, and from him she learnt that 
it was Zeus himself who had permitted Aides to seize 
Persephone, and transport her to the lower world in 
order that she might become his wife. Indignant with 
Zeus for having given his sanction to the abduction of 
his daughter, and filled with the bitterest sorrow, she 
abandoned her home in Olympus, and refused all heavenly 
food. Disguising herself as an old woman, she descended 
upon earth, and commenced a weary pilgrimage among 
mankind. One evening she arrived at a place called 
Eleusis, in Attica, and sat down to rest herself near a 
well beneath the shade of an olive-tree. The youthful 
daughters of Celeus, the king of the country, came with 
their pails of brass to draw water from this well, and 
seeing that the tired wayfarer appeared faint and dis- 
pirited, they spoke kindly to her, asking who she was, 
and whence she came. Demeter replied that she had 
made her escape from pirates, who had captured her, and 
added that she would feel grateful for a home with any 
worthy family, whom, she would be willing to serve in a 
menial capacity. The princesses, on hearing this, begged 
Demeter to have a moment's patience while they returned 
home and consulted their mother, Metaneira. They soon 
brought the joyful intelligence that she was desirous of 
securing her services as nurse to her infant son Demo- 
phoon, or Triptolemus. When Demeter arrived at the 
house a radiant light suddenly illumined her, which cir- 
cumstance so overawed Metaneira that she treated the 
unknown stranger with the greatest respect, and hospit- 
ably offered her food and drink. But Demeter, still 
grief-worn and dejected, refused her friendly offers, and 
held herself apart from the social board. At length, 
however, the maid-servant lambe succeeded, by means 


of playful jests and merriment, in somewhat dispelling 
the grief of the sorrowing mother, causing her at times 
to smile in spite of herself, and even inducing her to 
partake of a mixture of barley-meal, mint, and water, 
which was prepared according to the directions of the 
goddess herself. Time passed on, and the young child 
throve amazingly under the care of his kind and judicious 
nurse, who, however, gave him no food, but anointed him 
daily with ambrosia, and every night laid him secretly in 
the fire in order to render him immortal and exempt from 
old age. But, unfortunately, this benevolent design on 
the part of Demeter was frustrated by Metaneira herself, 
whose curiosity, one night, impelled her to watch the 
proceedings of the mysterious being who nursed her child. 
When to her horror she beheld her son placed in the flames, 
she shrieked aloud. Demeter, incensed at this untimely 
interruption, instantly withdrew the child, and throwing 
him on the ground, revealed herself in her true character. 
The bent and aged form had vanished, and in its place 
there stood a bright and beauteous being, whose golden 
locks streamed over her shoulders in richest luxuriance, 
her whole aspect bespeaking dignity and majesty. She 
told the awe-struck Metaneira that she was the goddess 
Demeter, and had intended to make her son immortal, but 
that her fatal curiosity had rendered this impossible, add- 
ing, however, that the child, having slept in her arms, and 
been nursed on her lap, should ever command the respect 
and esteem of mankind. She then desired that a temple 
and altar should be erected to her on a neighbouring 
hill by the people of Eleusis, promising that she herself 
would direct them how to perform the sacred rites and 
ceremonies, which should be observed in her honour. 
With these words she took her departure never to return. 
Obedient to her commands, Celeus called together a 
meeting of his people, and built the temple on the spot 
which the goddess had indicated. It was soon completed, 
and Demeter took up her abode in it, but her heart was 
still sad for the loss of her daughter, and the whole world 
feit the influence of her grief and dejection. This was 


indeed a terrible year for mankind. Demeter no longer 
smiled on the earth she was wont to bless, and though 
the husbandman sowed the grain, and the groaning oxen 
ploughed the fields, no harvest rewarded their labour. 
All was barren, dreary desolation. The world was threat- 
ened with famine, and the gods with the loss of their 
accustomed honours and sacrifices; it became evident, 
therefore, to Zeus himself that some measures must be 
adopted to appease the anger of the goddess. He accord- 
ingly despatched Iris and many of the other gods and god- 
desses to implore Demeter to return to Olympus; but all 
their prayers were fruitless. The incensed goddess swore 
that until her daughter was restored to her she would not 
allow the grain to spring forth from the earth. At length 
Zeus sent Hermes, his faithful messenger, to the lower 
world with a petition to Aides, urgently entreating him to 
restore Persephone to the arms of her disconsolate mother. 
When he arrived in the gloomy realms of Aides, Hermes 
found him seated on a throne with the beautiful Perse- 
phone beside him, sorrowfully bewailing her unhappy fate. 
On learning his errand, Aides consented to resign Per- 
sephone, who joyfully prepared to follow the messenger 
of the gods to the abode of life and light. Before taking 
leave of her husband, he presented to her a few seeds of 
pomegranate, which in her excitement she thoughtlessly 
swallowed, and this simple act, as the sequel will show, 
materially affected her whole future life. The meeting 
between mother and child was one of unmixed rapture, 
and for the moment all the past was forgotten. The 
loving mother's happiness would now have been complete 
had not Aides asserted his rights. These were, that 
if any immortal had tasted food in his realms they were 
bound to remain there for ever. Of course the ruler of 
the lower world had to prove this assertion. This, how- 
ever, he found no difficulty in doing, as Ascalaphus, the 
son of Acheron and Orphne, was his witness to the fact. 1 
Zeus, pitying the disappointment of Demeter at finding 

1 Demeter transformed Ascalaphus into an owl for revealing the 


her hopes thus blighted, succeeded in effecting a compro- 
mise by inducing his brother A'ides to allow Persephone 
to spend six months of the year with the gods above, 
whilst during the other six she was to be the joyless com- 
panion of her grim lord below. Accompanied by her 
daughter, the beautiful Persephone, Demeter now resumed 
her long-abandoned dwelling in Olympus; the sympa- 
thetic earth responded gaily to her bright smiles, the corn 
at once sprang forth from the ground in fullest plenty, 
the trees, which late were sered and bare, now donned 
their brightest emerald robes, and the flowers, so long 
imprisoned in the hard, dry soil, filled the whole air with 
their fragrant perfume. Thus ends this charming story, 
which was a favourite theme with all the classic 

It is very possible that the poets who first created this 
graceful myth merely intended it as an allegory to illus- 
trate the change of seasons; in the course of time, how- 
ever, a literal meaning became attached to this and similar 
poetical fancies, and thus the people of Greece came to 
regard as an article of religious belief what, in the first 
instance, was nothing more than a poetic simile. 

In the temple erected to Demeter at Eleusis, the 
famous Eleusinian Mysteries were instituted by the god- 
dess herself. It is exceedingly difficult, as in the case of 
all secret societies, to discover anything with certainty 
concerning these sacred rites. The most plausible sup- 
position is that the doctrines taught by the priests to the 
favoured few whom they initiated, were religious truths 
which were deemed unfit for the uninstructed mind of 
the multitude. For instance, it is supposed that the myth 
of Demeter and Persephone was explained by the teachers 
of the Mysteries to signify the temporary loss which 
mother earth sustains every year when the icy breath of 
winter robs her of her flowers and fruits and grain. 

It is believed that in later times a still deeper meaning 
was conveyed by this beautiful myth, viz., the doctrine 
of the immortality of the soul. The grain, which, as 
it were, remains dead for a time in the dark earth, only 


to rise one day dressed in a newer and lovelier garb, 
was supposed to symbolize the soul, which, after death, 
frees itself from corruption, to live again under a better 
and purer form. 

When Demeter instituted the Eleusinian Mysteries, 
Celeus and his family were the first to be initiated, 
Celeus himself being appointed high-priest. His son 
Triptolemus and his daughters, who acted as priestesses, 
assisted him in the duties of his sacred office. The 
Mysteries were celebrated by the Athenians every five 
years, and were, for a long time, their exclusive privilege. 
They took place by torchlight, and were conducted with 
the greatest solemnity. 

In order to spread abroad the blessings which agricul- 
ture confers, Demeter presented Triptolemus with her 
chariot drawn by winged dragons, and, giving him some 
grains of corn, desired him to journey through the world, 
teaching mankind the arts of agriculture and hus- 

Demeter exercised great severity towards those who 
incurred her displeasure. We find examples of this in 
the stories of Stellio and Eresicthon. Stellio was a youth 
who ridiculed the goddess for the eagerness with which 
she was eating a bowl of porridge, when weary and faint 
in the vain search for her daughter. Resolved that he 
should never again have an opportunity of thus offending, 
she angrily threw into his face the remainder of the food, 
and changed him into a spotted lizard. 

Eresicthon, son of Triopas, had drawn upon himself 
the anger of Demeter by cutting down her sacred 
groves, for which she punished him with a constant 
and insatiable hunger. He sold all his possessions in 
order to satisfy his cravings, and was forced at last 
to devour his own limbs. His daughter Metra, who was 
devotedly attached to him, possessed the power of trans- 
forming herself into a variety of different animals. By 
this means she contrived to support her father, who sold 
her again and again each time she assumed a different 
form, and thus he dragged on a pitiful existence. 




The Roman Ceres is actually the Greek Demeter 
under another name, her attri- 
butes, worship, festivals, &c., 
being precisely identical. 

The Romans were indebted 
to Sicily for this divinity, her 
worship having been introduced 
by the Greek colonists who 
settled there. 

The Cerealia, or festivals in 
honour of Ceres, commenced on 
the 12th of April, and lasted 
several days. 


Aphrodite (from aphros, sea- 
foam, and elite, issued), the daugh- 
ter of Zeus and a sea-nymph 
called Dione, was the goddess 
of Love and Beauty. 

Dione, being a sea-nymph, 
gave birth to her daughter beneath the waves; but the 
child of the heaven-inhabiting Zeus was forced to ascend 
from the ocean-depths and mount to the snow-capped 
summits of Olympus, in order to breathe that ethereal 
and most refined atmosphere which pertains to the 
celestial gods. 

Aphrodite was the mother of Eros (Cupid), the god of 
Love, also of ^Eneas, the great Trojan hero and the head 
of that Greek colony which settled in Italy, and from 
which arose the city of Rome. As a mother Aphrodite 
claims our sympathy for the tenderness she exhibits 
towards her children. Homer tells us in his Iliad, how, 
when ./Eneas was wounded in battle, she came to his 
assistance, regardless of personal danger, and was herself 
severely wounded in attempting to save his life. 


Aphrodite was tenderly attached to a lovely youth, 
called Adonis, whose exquisite beauty has become pro- 
verbial. He was a motherless babe, and Aphrodite, 
taking pity on him, placed him in a chest and intrusted 
him to the care of Persephone, who became so fond 
of the beautiful youth that she refused to part with him. 
Zeus, being appealed to by the rival foster-mothers, de- 
cided that Adonis should spend four months of every 
year with Persephone, four with Aphrodite, whilst during 
the remaining four months he should be left to his own 
devices. He became, however, so attached to Aphrodite 
that he voluntarily devoted to her the time at his own 
disposal. Adonis was killed, during the chase, by a wild 
boar, to the great grief of Aphrodite, who bemoaned his 
loss so persistently that Aides, moved with pity, per- 
mitted him to pass six months of every year with her, 
whilst the remaining half of the year was spent by him 
in the lower world. 

Aphrodite possessed a magic girdle (the famous cestus) 
which she frequently lent to unhappy maidens suffering 
from the pangs of unrequited love, as it was endowed 
with the power of inspiring affection for the wearer, whom 
it invested with every attribute of grace, beauty, and fas- 

Her usual attendants are the Charites or Graces 
(Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and Thalia), who are represented 
undraped and intertwined in a loving embrace. 

In Hesiod's Theogony she is supposed to belong to the 
more ancient divinities, and, whilst those of later date are 
represented as having descended one from another, and 
all more or less from Zeus, Aphrodite has a variously- 
accounted-for, yet independent origin. 

The most poetical version of her birth is that when 
Uranus was wounded by his son Cronus, his blood min- 
gled with the foam of the sea, whereupon the bubbling 
waters at once assumed a rosy tint, and from their depths 
arose, in all the surpassing glory of her loveliness, Aphro- 
dite, goddess of love and beauty ! Shaking her long, fair 
tresses, the water-drops rolled down into the beautiful 



sea-shell in which she stood, and became transformed 
into pure, glistening pearls. Wafted by the soft and 
balmy breezes, she floated on to 
Cythera, and was thence trans- 
ported to the island of Cyprus. 
Lightly she stepped on shore, and 
under the gentle pressure of her 
delicate foot the dry and rigid 
sand became transformed into a 
verdant meadow, where every 
varied shade of colour and every 
sweet odour charmed the senses. 
The whole island of Cyprus be- 
came clothed with verdure, and 
greeted this fairest of all created 
beings with a glad smile of 
friendly welcome. Here she was 
received by the Seasons, who 
decked her with garments of 
immortal fabric, encircling her 
fair brow with a wreath of purest gold, whilst from 
her ears depended costly rings, and a glittering chain em- 
braced her swan-like throat. And now, arrayed in all the 
panoply of her irresistible charms, the nymphs escort her 
to the dazzling halls of Olympus, where she is received 
with ecstatic enthusiasm by the admiring gods and god- 
desses. The gods all vied with each other in aspiring to 
the honour of her hand, but Hephfestus became the 
envied possessor of this lovely being, who, however, 
proved as faithless as she was beautiful, and caused her 
husband much unhappiness, owing to the preference she 
showed at various times for some of the other gods and 
also for mortal men. 

The celebrated Venus of Milo, now in the Louvre, is an 
exquisite statue of this divinity. The head is beautifully 
formed; the rich waves of hair descend on her rather low 
but broad forehead and are caught up gracefully in a 
small knot at the back of the head; the expression of 
the face is most bewitching, and bespeaks the perfect 


joyousness of a happy nature combined with the dignity 
of a goddess; the drapery falls in careless folds from the 
waist downwards, and her whole a titude is the embodi- 
ment of all that is graceful and lovely jn womanhood. 
She is of medium height, and the form is perfect in its 
symmetry and faultless proportions. 

Aphrodite is also frequently represented in the act of 
confining her dripping locks in a knot, whilst her attend- 
ant nymphs envelop her in a gauzy veil. 

The animals sacred to her were the dove, swan, swallow, 
and sparrow. Her favourite plants were the myrtle, 
apple-tree, rose, and poppy. 

The worship of Aphrodite is supposed to have been 
introduced into Greece from Central Asia. There is no 
doubt that she was originally identical with the famous 
Astarte, the Ashtoreth of the Bible, against whose idola- 
trous worship and infamous rites the prophets of old 
hurled forth their sublime and powerful anathemas. 


The Venus of the Romano was identified with the 
Aphrodite of the Greeks. The worship of this divinity 
was only established in Rome in comparatively later 
times. Annual festivals, called Veneralia, were held in 
her honour, and the month of April, when flowers and 
plants spring forth afresh, was sacred to her. She was 
Avorshipped as Venus Cloacina (or the Purifier), and as 
Venus Myrtea (or the myrtle goddess), an epithet derived 
from the myrtle, the emblem of Love. 


The worship of Helios was introduced into Greece from 
Asia. According to the earliest conceptions of the Greeks 
he was not only the sun-god, but also the personification of 
life and all life-giving power, for light is well known to be 
an indispensable condition of all healthy terrestrial life 
The worship of the sun was originally very widely spread, 


not only among the early Greeks themselves, but also 
among other primitive nations. To us the sun is simply the 
orb of light, which, high above our heads, performs each 
day the functions assigned to it by a mighty and invisible 
Power; we can, therefore, form but a faint idea of the im- 
pression which it produced upon the spirit of a people 
whose intellect was still in its infancy, and who believed, 
with child-Like simplicity, that every power of nature 
was a divinity, which, according as its character was bale- 
ful or beneficent, worked for the destruction or benefit of 
the human race. 

Helios, who was the son of the Titans Hyperion and 
Theia, is described as rising every morning in the east, 
preceded by his sister Eos (the Dawn), who, with her rosy 
fingers, paints the tips of the mountains, and draws aside 
that misty veil through which her brother is about to 
appear. When he has burst forth in all the glorious Light 
of day, Eos disappears, and HeLios now drives his flame- 
darting chariot along the accustomed track This chariot, 
which is of burnished gold, is drawn by four fire-breath- 
ing steeds, behind which the young god stands erect with 
flashing eyes, his head surrounded with rays, holding in 
one hand the reins of those fiery coursers which in all 
hands save his are unmanageable. AVhen towards even- 
ing he descends the curve 1 in order to cool his burning 
forehead in the waters of the deep sea, he is followed 
closely by his sister Selene (the Moon), who is now pre- 
pared to take charge of the world, and illumine with her 
silver crescent the dusky night. Helios meanwhile rests 
from his labours, and, reclining softly on the cool fragrant 
couch prepared for him by the sea-nymphs, recruits him- 
self for another life-giving, joy-inspiring, and beauteous 

It may appear strange that, although the Greeks 
considered the earth to be a flat circle, no explanation 
is given of the fact that HeLios sinks down in the far 

1 The course which the sun ran was considered by the ancients to be 
a rising and descending curve ^ ^ ^, the centre of which was sup- 
posed to be reached by Helios at mid-day. 


west regularly every evening, and yet reappears as 
regularly every morning in the east. Whether he was 
supposed to pass through Tartarus, and thus regain the 
opposite extremity through the bowels of the earth, or 
whether they thought he possessed any other means of 
making this transit, there is not a line in either Homer or 
Hesiod to prove. In later times, however, the poets in- 
vented the graceful fiction, that when Helios had finished 
his course, and reached the western side of the curve, a 
winged boat, or cup, which had been made for him by 
Hephaestus, awaited him there, and conveyed him rapidly, 
with his glorious equipage, to the east, where he recom- 
menced his bright and glowing career. 

This divinity was invoked as a witness when a solemn 
oath was taken, as it was believed that nothing escaped 
his all-seeing eye, and it was this fact which enabled him 
to inform Demeter of the fate of her daughter, as already 
related. He was supposed to possess flocks and herds in 
various localities, which may possibly be intended to re- 
present the days and nights of the year, or the stars of 

Helios is said to have loved Clytie, a daughter of Ocea- 
nus, who ardently returned his affection; but in the course 
of time the fickle sun-god transferred his devotion to Leu- 
cothea, the daughter of Orchamus, king of the eastern 
countries, Avhich so angered the forsaken Clytie that 
she informed Orchamus of his daughter's attachment, and 
he punished her by inhumanly burying her alive. Helios, 
overcome with grief, endeavoured, by every means in his 
power, to recall her to life. At last, finding all his efforts 
unavailing, he sprinkled her grave with heavenly nectar, 
and immediately there sprang forth from the spot a shoot 
of frankincense, which spread around its aromatic per- 

The jealous Clytie gained nothing by her cruel conduct, 
for the sun-god came to her no more. Inconsolable at 
Ids loss, she threw herself upon the ground, and refused 
all sustenance. For nine long days she turned her face 
towards the glorious god of day, as he moved along the 


heavens, till at length her limbs became rooted in the 
ground, and she was transformed into a flower, which 
ever turns towards the sun. 

Helios married Perse, daughter of Oceanus, and their 
children were, Ae'tes, king of Colchis (celebrated in the 
legend of the Argonauts as the possessor of the Golden 
Fleece), and Circe, the renowned sorceress. 

Helios had another son named Phaethon, whose mother 
was Clymene, one of the Oceanides. The youth was very 
beautiful, and a great favourite with Aphrodite, who 
intrusted him with the care of one of her temples, which 
flattering proof of her regard caused him to become vain 
and presumptuous. His friend Epaphus, son of Zeus and 
lo, endeavoured to check his youthful vanity by pretend- 
ing to disbelieve his assertion that the sun-god was his 
father. Phaethon, full of resentment, and eager to be 
able to refute the calumny, hastened to his mother Cly- 
mene, and besought her to tell him whether Helios was 
really his father. Moved by his entreaties, and at the 
same time angry at the reproach of Epaphus, Clymene 
pointed, to the glorious sun, then shining down upon them, 
and assured her son that in that bright orb he beheld the 
author of his being, adding that if he had still any doubt, 
he might visit the radiant dwelling of the great god of 
light and inquire for himself. Overjoyed at his mother's 
reassuring words, and following the directions she gave 
him, Phaethon quickly wended his way to his father's 

As he entered the palace of the sun-god the dazzling rays 
almost blinded him, and prevented him from approach- 
ing the throne on which his father was seated, surrounded 
by the Hours, Days, Months, Years, and Seasons. Helios, 
who with his all-seeing eye had watched him from afar, 
removed his crown of glittering rays, and bade him not 
to be afraid, but to draw near to his father. Encouraged 
by this kind reception, Phaethon entreated him to be- 
stow upon him such a proof of his love, that all the world 
might be convinced that he was indeed his son; where- 
upon Helios desired him to ask any favour he pleased, 


and swore by the Styx that it should be granted. The 
impetuous youth immediately requested permission to 
drive the chariot of the sun for one whole day. His 
father listened horror-struck to this presumptuous demand, 
and by representing the many dangers which would beset 
his path, endeavoured to dissuade him from so perilous 
an undertaking; but his son, deaf to all advice, pressed 
his point with such pertinacity, that Helios was reluctantly 
compelled to lead him to the chariot. Phaethon paused 
for a moment to admire the beauty of the glittering 
equipage, the gift of the god of fire, who had formed it 
of gold, and ornamented it with precious stones, which 
reflected the rays of the sun. And now Helios, seeing 
his sister, the Dawn, opening her doors in the rosy east, 
ordered the Hours to yoke the horses. The goddesses 
speedily obeyed the command, and the father then an- 
ointed the face of his son with a sacred balm, to enable 
him to endure the burning flames which issued from 
the nostrils of the steeds, and sorrowfully placing his 
crown of rays upon his head, desired him to ascend the 

The eager youth joyfully took his place and grasped 
the coveted reins, but no sooner did the fiery coursers 
of the sun feel the inexperienced hand which attempted 
to guide them, than they became restive and unmanage- 
able. Wildly they rushed out of their accustomed track, 
now soaring so high as to threaten the heavens with 
destruction, now descending so low as nearly to set the 
earth on fire. At last the unfortunate charioteer, blinded 
with the glare, and terrified at the awful devastation he 
had caused, dropped the reins from his trembling hands. 
Mountains and forests were in flames, rivers and streams 
were dried up, and a general conflagration was imminent. 
The scorched earth now called on Zeus for help, who 
hurled his thunderbolt at Phaethon, and with a flash of 
lightning brought the fiery steeds to a standstill The 
lifeless body of the youth fell headlong into the river 
Eridanus, 1 where it was received and buried by the 

1 The river Po. 
(78) E 


nymphs of the stream. His sisters mourned so long for 
him that they were transformed by Zeus into poplars, 
and the tears they shed, falling into the waters, became 
drops of clear, transparent amber. Cycnus, the faithful 
friend of the unhappy Phaethon, felt such overwhelming 
grief at his terrible fate, that he pined and wasted away. 
The gods, moved with compassion, transformed him into 
a swan, which for ever brooded over the fatal spot where 
the waters had closed over the head of his unfortunate 

The chief seat of the worship of Helios was the island of 
Rhodes, which according to the following myth was his 
especial territory. At the time of the Titanomachia, when 
the gods were dividing the world by lot, Helios happened 
to be absent, and consequently received no share. He, 
therefore, complained to Zeus, who proposed to have a 
new allotment, but this Helios would not allow, saying, 
that as he pursued his daily journey, his penetrating eye 
had beheld a lovely, fertile island lying beneath the waves 
of the ocean, and that if the immortals would swear to 
give him the undisturbed possession of this spot, he would 
be content to accept it as his share of the universe. The 
gods took the oath, whereupon 
the island of Rhodes imme- 
diately raised itself above the 
surface of the waters. 

The famous Colossus of 
Rhodes, which was one of the 
seven wonders of the world, 
was erected in honour of 
Helios. This wonderful statue 
was 105 feet high, and was 
formed entirely of brass; it 
formed the entrance to the 
harbour at Rhodes, and the 
largest vessel could easily sail 
between the legs, which stood 
on moles, each side of the harbour. Though so gigantic, 
it was perfectly proportioned in every part. Some idea of 


its size may be gained from the fact that very few people 
were able to span the thumb of this statue with their 
arms. In the interior of the Colossus was a winding stair- 
case leading to the top, from the summit of which, by 
means of a telescope, the coast of Syria, and also the 
shores of Egypt, are said to have been visible. 1 


Eos, the Dawn, like her brother Helios, whose advent 
she always announced, was also deified by the early Greeks. 
She too had her own chariot, which she drove across the 
vast horizon both morning and night, before and after 
the sun-god. Hence she is not merely the personifica- 
tion of the rosy morn, but also of twilight, for which 
reason her palace is placed in the west, on the island 
JEsea. The abode of Eos is a magnificent structure, sur- 
rounded by flowery meads and velvety lawns, where 
nymphs and other immortal beings, wind in and out in 
the mazy figures of the dance, whilst the music of a 
sweetly-tuned melody accompanies their graceful, gliding 

Eos is described by the poets as a beautiful maiden with 
rosy arms and fingers, and large wings, whose plumage is 
of an ever-changing hue; she bears a star on her forehead, 
and a torch in her hand. Wrapping round her the rich 
folds of her violet-tinged mantle, she leaves her couch 
before the break of day, and herself yokes her two horses, 
Lampetus and Phaethon, to her glorious chariot She 
then hastens with active cheerfulness to open the gates 
of heaven, in order to herald the approach of her brother, 
the god of day, whilst the tender plants and flowers, re- 
vived by the morning dew, lift their heads to welconu 
her as she passes. 

1 This great work of antiquity was destroyed by an earthquake fifty- 
six years after its erection, B.C. 256. The fragments remained on the 
ground for many centuries, until Rhodes was conquered by the Turks, 
and they were eventually sold by one of the generals of Caliph Othman 
IV. to a merchant of Emesa for 36,000, A.D. 672. 


Eos first married the Titan Astrseus, 1 and their children 
were Heosphorus (Hesperus), the evening star, and the 
winds. She afterwards became united to Tithonus, son of 
Laomedon, king of Troy, who had won her affection by his 
unrivalled beauty; and Eos, unhappy at the thought of 
their being ever separated by death, obtained for him 
from Zeus the gift of immortality, forgetting, however, to 
add to it that of eternal youth. The consequence was 
that when, in the course of time, Tithonus grew old and 
decrepid, and lost all the beauty which had won her 
admiration, Eos became disgusted with his infirmities, 
and at last shut him up in a chamber, where soon little 
else was left of him but his voice, which had now sunk 
into a weak, feeble quaver. According to some of the 
later poets, he became so weary of his cheerless and miser- 
able existence, that he entreated to be allowed to die. 
This was, however, impossible; but Eos, pitying his un- 
happy condition, exerted her divine power, and changed 
him into a grasshopper, which is, as it were, all voice, 
and whose monotonous, ceaseless chirpings may not in- 
aptly be compared to the meaningless babble of extreme 
old age. 


Phoebus-Apollo, the god of Light, Prophecy, Music, 
Poetry, and the Arts and Sciences, is by far the noblest 
conception within the whole range of Greek mythology, 
and his worship, which not only extended to all the 
states of Greece, but also to Asia Minor and to every 
Greek colony throughout the world, stands out among 
the most ancient and strongly-marked features of Grecian 
history, and exerted a more decided influence over the 
Greek nation, than that of any other deity, not excepting 
Zeus himself. 

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, and was born 
beneath the shade of a palm-tree which grew at the foot 

1 According to some authorities, Strymon. 


of Mount Cynthus, on the barren and rocky island of 
Delos. The poets tell us that the earth smiled when the 
young god first beheld the 
light of day, and that 
Delos became so proud 
and exultant at the honour 
thus conferred upon her, 
that she covered herself 
with golden flowers; swans 
surrounded the island, 
and the Delian nymphs 
celebrated his birth with 
songs of joy. 

The unhappy Leto, 
driven to Delos by the 
relentless persecutions of 
Hera, was not long per- 
mitted to enjoy her haven 
of refuge. Being still 
tormented by her enemy, 

the young mother was once more obliged to fly; she 
therefore resigned the charge of her new-born babe 
to the goddess Themis, who carefully wrapped the help- 
less infant in swaddling-clothes, and fed him with nectar 
and ambrosia; but he had no sooner partaken of the 
heavenly food than, to the amazement of the goddess, 
he burst asunder the bands which confined his infant 
limbs, and springing to his feet, appeared before her as 
a full-grown youth of divine strength and beauty. He 
now demanded a lyre and a bow, declaring that hence- 
forth he would announce to mankind the will of his 
father Zeus. " The golden lyre," said he, " shall be my 
friend, the bent bow my delight, and in oracles will I 
foretell the dark future." With these words he ascended 
to Olympus, where he was received with joyful acclama- 
tions into the assembly of the celestial gods, who acknow- 
ledged him as the most beautiful and glorious of all the 
sons of Zeus. 

Phoebus- Apollo was the god of light in a twofold signi- 


fication : first, as representing the great orb of day which 
illumines the world; and secondly, as the heavenly light 
which animates the soul of man. He inherited his func- 
tion as sun-god from Helios, with whom, in later times, 
he was so completely identified, that the personality of 
the one became gradually merged in that of the other. 
We, accordingly, find Helios frequently confounded with 
Apollo, myths belonging to the former attributed to the 
latter; and with some tribes the Ionic, for instance so 
complete is this identification, that Apollo is called by 
them Helios- Apollo. 

As the divinity whose power is developed in the 
broad light of day, he brings joy and delight to nature, 
and health and prosperity to man. By the influence of his 
warm and gentle rays he disperses the noxious vapours 
of the night, assists the grain to ripen and the flowers to 

But although, as god of the sun, he is a life-giving 
and life-preserving power, who, by his genial influence, 
dispels the cold of winter, he is, at the same time, the 
god who, by means of his fiercely darting rays, could 
spread disease and send sudden death to men and ani- 
mals; and it is to this phase of his character that we 
must look for the explanation of his being considered, 
in conjunction with his twin-sister, Artemis (as moon- 
goddess), a divinity of death. The brother and sister 
share this function between them, he taking man and she 
woman as her aim, and those especially who died in the 
bloom of youth, or at an advanced age, were believed to 
have been killed by their gentle arrows. But Apollo did 
not always send an easy death. We see in the Iliad how, 
when angry with the Greeks, the "god of the silver bow" 
strode down from Olympus, with his quiver full of death- 
bringing darts, and sent a raging pestilence into their 
camp. For nine days he let fly his fatal arrows, first on 
animals and then on men, till the air became darkened 
with the smoke from the funeral pyres. 

In his character as god of light, Phcebus- Apollo is the 
protecting deity of shepherds, because it is he who warms 


the fields and meadows, and gives rich pastures to the 
flocks, thereby gladdening the heart of the herdsman. 

As the temperate heat of the sun exercises so invigorat- 
ing an effect on man and animals, and promotes the 
growth of those medicinal herbs and vegetable productions 
necessary for the cure of diseases, Phoebus-Apollo was 
supposed to possess the power of restoring life and health; 
hence he was regarded as the god of healing; but this 
feature in his character we shall find more particularly 
developed in his son Asclepius (^Esculapius), the veritable 
god of the healing art. 

Pursuing our analysis of the various phases in the cha- 
racter of Phoebus- Apollo, we find that with the first beams 
of his genial light, all nature awakens to renewed life, and 
the woods re-echo with the jubilant sound of the untaught 
lays, warbled by thousands of feathered choristers. Hence, 
by a natural inference, he is the god of music, and as, 
according to the belief of the ancients, the inspirations of 
genius were inseparably connected with the glorious light 
of heaven, he is also the god of poetry, and acts as the 
special patron of the arts and sciences. Apollo is himself 
the heavenly musician among the Olympic gods, whose 
banquets are gladdened by the wondrous strains which he 
produces from his favourite instrument, the seven-stringed 
lyre. In the cultus of Apollo, music formed a distinguish- 
ing feature. All sacred dances, and even the sacrifices in 
his honour, were performed to the sound of musical in- 
struments; and it is, in a great measure, owing to the 
influence which the music in his worship exercised on 
the Greek nation, that Apollo came to be regarded as the 
leader of the nine Muses, the legitimate divinities of j>oetry 
and song. In tins character he is called Musagetes, and 
is always represented robed in a long flowing garment; 
his lyre, to the tones of which he appears to be singing, is 
suspended by a band across the chest; his head is en- 
circled by a wreath of laurel, and his long hair, stream- 
ing down over his shoulders, gives him a somewhat 
effeminate appearance. 

And now we must view the glorious god of light under 


another, and (as far as regards his influence over the 
Greek nation) a much more important aspect; for, in his- 
torical times, all the other functions and attributes of 
Apollo sink into comparative insignificance before the 
great power which he exercised as god of prophecy. It is 
true that all Greek gods were endowed, to a certain extent, 
with the faculty of foretelling future events; but Apollo, 
as sun-god, was the concentration of all prophetic power, 
as it was supposed that nothing escaped his all-seeing eye, 
which penetrated the most hidden recesses, and laid bare 
the secrets which lay concealed behind the dark veil of 
the future. 

We have seen that when Apollo assumed his god-like 
form, he took his place among the immortals; but he had 
not long enjoyed the rapturous delights of Olympus, before 
he felt within him an ardent desire to fulfil his great mis- 
sion of interpreting to mankind the will of his mighty 
father. He accordingly descended to earth, and travelled 
through many countries, seeking a fitting site upon which 
to establish an oracle. At length he reached the southern 
side of the rocky heights of Parnassus, beneath which lay 
the harbour of Crissa. Here, under the overhanging cliff, 
he found a secluded spot, where, from the most ancient 
times, there had existed an oracle, in which Gsea herself 
had revealed the future to man, and which, in Deucalion's 
time, she had resigned to Themis. It was guarded by 
the huge serpent Python, the scourge of the surrounding 
neighbourhood, and the terror alike of men and cattle. 
The young god, full of confidence in his unerring aim, 
attacked and slew the monster with his arrows, thus free- 
ing land and people from their mighty enemy. 

The grateful inhabitants, anxious to do honour to their 
deliverer, flocked round Apollo, who proceeded to mark 
out a plan for a temple, and, with the assistance of numbers 
of eager volunteers, a suitable edifice was soon erected. It 
now became necessary to choose ministers, who would offer 
up sacrifices, interpret his prophecies to the people, and 
take charge of the temple. Looking round, he saw in the 
far distance a vessel bound from Crete to the Pelopon- 


nesus, and determined to avail himself of her crew for his 
service. Assuming the shape of an enormous dolphin, 
he agitated the waters to such a degree, that the ship was 
tossed violently to and fro, to the great alarm of the 
mariners; at the same time he raised a mighty wind, 
which drove the ship into the harbour of Crissa, where 
she ran aground. The terrified sailors dared not set 
foot on shore; but Apollo, under the form of a vigorous 
youth, stepped down to the vessel, revealed himself in 
his true character, and informed them that it was he 
who had driven them to Crissa, in order that they 
might become his priests, and serve him in his temple. 
Arrived at the sacred fane, he instructed them how to 
perform the services in his honour, and desired them to 
worship him under the name of Apollo-Delphinios, be- 
cause he had first appeared to them under the form of 
a dolphin. Thus was established the far-famed oracle of 
Delphi, the only institution of the kind which was not 
exclusively national, for it was consulted by Lydians, 
Phrygians, Etruscans, Romans, &c., and, in fact, was held 
in the highest repute all over the world. In obedience 
to its decrees, the laws of Lycurgus were introduced, and 
the earliest Greek colonies founded. No cities were built 
without first consulting the Delphic oracle, for it was be- 
lieved that Apollo took special delight in the founding 
of cities, the first stone of which he laid in person; nor 
was any enterprise ever undertaken, without inquiring at 
this sacred fane as to its probable success. 

But that which brought Apollo more closely home to 
the hearts of- the people, and raised the whole moral 
tone of the Greek nation, was the belief, gradually de- 
veloped with the intelligence of the people, that he was 
the god who accepted repentance as an atonement for 
sin, who pardoned the contrite sinner, and who acted as 
the special protector of those, who, like Orestes, had com- 
mitted a crime, which required long years of expiation. 

Apollo is represented by the poets as being eternally 
young; his countenance, glowing with joyous life, is the 
embodiment of immortal beauty; his eyes are of a deep 


blue; his forehead low, but broad and intellectual; his 
hair, which falls over his shoulders in long waving locks, 
is of a golden, or warm chestnut hue. He is crowned 
with laurel, and wears a purple robe; in his hand he 
bears his silver bow, which is unbent when he smiles, 
but ready for use when he menaces evil-doers. 

But Apollo, the eternally beautiful youth, the perfec- 
tion of all that is graceful and refined, rarely seems to 
have been happy in his love; either his advances met 
with a repulse, or his union with the object of his affec- 
tion was attended with fatal consequences. 

His first love was Daphne (daughter of Peneus, the 
river-god), who was so averse to marriage that she en- 
treated her father to allow her to lead a life of celibacy, 
and devote herself to the chase, which she loved to the 
exclusion of all other pursuits. But one day, soon after 
his victory over the Python, Apollo happened to see Eros 
bending his bow, and proud of his own superior strength 
and skill, he laughed at the efforts of the little archer, 
saying that such a weapon was more suited to the one 
who had just killed the terrible serpent. Eros angrily re- 
plied that his arrow should pierce the heart of the mocker 
himself, and flying off to the summit of Mount Parnas- 
sus, he drew from his quiver two darts of different work- 
manship one of gold, which had the effect of inspiring 
love; the other of lead, which created aversion. Taking 
aim at Apollo, he pierced his breast with the golden 
shaft, whilst the leaden one he discharged into the 
bosom of the beautiful Daphne. The son of Leto in- 
stantly felt the most ardent affection for the nymph, 
'who, on her part, evinced the greatest dislike towards 
her divine lover, and, at his approach, fled from him 
like a hunted deer. He called upon her in the most 
endearing accents to stay, but she still sped on, until at 
length, becoming faint with fatigue, and fearing that she 
was about to succumb, she called upon the gods to come 
to her aid. Hardly had she uttered her prayer before a 
heavy torpor seized her limbs, and just as Apollo threw 
out his arms to embrace her, she became transformed 


into a laurel -bush. He sorrowfully crowned his head 
with its leaves, and declared, that in memory of his love, 
it should henceforth remain evergreen, and be held sacred 
to him. *- 

He ^next sought the love of Marpessa, the daughter 
of Evenus; but though her father approved his suit, the 
maiden preferred a youth named Idas, who contrived to 
carry her off in a winged chariot which he had procured 
from Poseidon. Apollo pursued the fugitives, whom he 
quickly overtook, and forcibly seizing the bride, refused 
to resign her. Zeus then interfered, and declared that 
Marpessa herself must decide which of her lovers should 
claim her as his wife. After due reflection she accepted 
Idas as her husband, judiciously concluding that although 
the attractions of the divine Apollo were superior to those 
of her lover, it would be wiser to unite herself to a 
mortal, who, growing old with herself, would be less 
likely to forsake her, when advancing years should rob 
her of her charms. 

Cassandra, daughter of Priam, king of Troy, was an- 
other object of the love of Apollo. She feigned to return 
his affection, and promised to marry him, provided he 
would confer upon her the gift of prophecy; but having 
received the boon she desired, the treacherous maiden 
refused to comply with the conditions upon which it had 
been granted. Incensed at her breach of faith, Apollo, 
unable to recall the gift he had bestowed, rendered it 
useless by causing her predictions to fail in obtaining 
credence. Cassandra became famous in history for her 
prophetic powers, but her prophecies were never believed. 
For instance, she warned her brother Paris that if he 
brought back a wife from Greece he would cause the 
destruction of his father's house and kingdom; she also 
warned the Trojans not to admit the wooden horse 
within the walls of the city, and foretold to Agamemnon 
all the disasters which afterwards befell him. 

Apollo afterwards married Coronis, a nymph of Larissa, 
and thought himself happy in the possession of her 
faithful love; but once more he was doomed to disap- 


pointment, for one day his favourite bird, the crow, flew 
to him with the intelligence that his wife had trans- 
ferred her affections to a youth of Haemonia. Apollo, 
burning with rage, instantly destroyed her with one of 
his death-bringing darts. Too late he repented of his 
rashness, for she had been tenderly beloved by him, and 
he would fain have recalled her to life; but, although he 
exerted all his healing powers, his efforts were in vain. 
He punished the crow for its garrulity by changing the 
colour of its plumage from pure white to intense black, 
and forbade it to fly any longer among the other birds. 

Coronis left an infant son named Asclepius, who after- 
wards became god of medicine. His powers were so 
extraordinary that he could not only cure the sick, but 
could even restore the dead to life. At last Aides com- 
plained to Zeus that the number of shades conducted to 
his dominions was daily decreasing, and the great ruler 
of Olympus, fearing that mankind, thus protected against 
sickness and death, would be able to defy the gods them- 
selves, killed Asclepius with one of his thunderbolts. The 
loss of his highly gifted son so exasperated Apollo that, 
being unable to vent his anger on Zeus, he destroyed the 
Cyclops, who had forged the fatal thunderbolts. For this 
offence, Apollo would have been banished by Zeus to 
Tartarus, but at the earnest intercession of Leto he par- 
tially relented, and contented himself with depriving him 
of all power and dignity, and imposing on him a tem- 
porary servitude in the house of Admetus, king of Thes- 
saly. Apollo faithfully served his royal master for nine 
years in the humble capacity of a shepherd, and was 
treated by him with every kindness and consideration. 
During the period of his service the king sought the hand 
of Alcestis, the beautiful daughter of Pelias, son of Posei- 
don; but her father declared that he would only resign her 
to the suitor who should succeed in yoking a lion and a 
wild boar to his chariot. By the aid of his divine herds- 
man, Admetus accomplished this difficult task, and gained 
his bride. Nor was this the only favour which the king 
received from the exiled god, for Apollo obtained from 


the Fates the gift of immortality for his benefactor, on 
condition that when his last hour approached, some mem- 
ber of his own family should be willing to die in his stead. 
When the fatal hour arrived, and Admetus felt that he 
was at the point of death, he implored his aged parents 
to yield to him their few remaining days. But " life is 
sweet" even to old age, and they both refused to make 
the sacrifice demanded of them. Alcestis, however, who 
had secretly devoted herself to death for her husband, 
was seized with a mortal sickness, which kept pace with 
his rapid recovery. The devoted wife breathed her last 
in the arms of Admetus, and he had just consigned her 
to the tomb, when Heracles chanced to come to the palace. 
Admetus held the rites of hospitality so sacred, that he 
at first kept silence with regard to his great bereavement; 
but as soon as his friend heard what had occurred, he 
bravely descended into the tomb, and when death came 
to claim his prey, he exerted his marvellous strength, and 
held him in his arms, until he promised to restore the 
beautiful and heroic queen to the bosom of her family. 

Whilst pursuing the peaceful life of a shepherd, Apollo 
formed a strong friendship with two youths named Hya- 
cinthus and Cyparissus, but the great favour shown to 
them by the god did not suffice to shield them from mis- 
fortune. The former was one day throwing the discus 
with Apollo, when, running too eagerly to take up the 
one thrown by the god, he was struck on the head with 
it and killed on the spot. Apollo was overcome with 
grief at the sad end of his young favourite, but being 
unable to restore him to life, he changed him into the 
flower called after him the Hyacinth. Cyparissus had 
the misfortune to kill by accident one of Apollo's favourite 
stags, which so preyed on his mind that he gradually 
pined away, and died of a broken heart He was trans- 
formed by the god into a cypress-tree, which owes its 
name to this story. 

After these sad occurrences Apollo quitted Thessaly 
and repaired to Phrygia, in Asia Minor, where he met 
Poseidon, who, like himself, was in exile, and condemned 


to a temporary servitude on earth. The two gods now 
entered the service of Laomedon, king of Troy, Apollo 
undertaking to tend his flocks, and Poseidon to build the 
walls of the city. But Apollo also contributed his assist- 
ance in the erection of those wonderful walls, and, by the 
aid of his marvellous musical powers, the labours of his 
fellow-worker, Poseidon, were rendered so light and easy 
that his otherwise arduous task advanced with astonish- 
ing celerity; for, as the master-hand of the god of music 
grasped the chords of his lyre, 1 the huge blocks of stone 
moved of their own accord, adjusting themselves with 
the utmost nicety into the places designed for them. 

But though Apollo was so renowned in the art of 
music, there were two individuals who had the effrontery 
to consider themselves equal to him in this respect, and, 
accordingly, each challenged him to compete with them 
in a musical contest. These were Marsyas and Pan. 
Marsyas was a satyr, who, having picked up the flute 
which Athene had thrown away in disgust, discovered, to 
his great delight and astonishment, that, in consequence 
of its- having touched the lips of a goddess, it played of 
itself in the most charming manner. Marsyas, who was a 
great lover of music, and much beloved on this account 
by all the elf-like denizens of the woods and glens, 
was so intoxicated with joy at this discovery, that he 
foolishly challenged Apollo to compete with him in a 
musical contest. The challenge being accepted, the 
Muses were chosen umpires, and it was decided that the 
unsuccessful candidate should suffer the punishment of 
being flayed alive. For a long time the merits of both 
claimants remained so equally balanced, that it was 
impossible to award the palm of victory to either, seeing 
which, Apollo, resolved to conquer, added the sweet 
tones of his melodious voice to the strains of his lyre, 

1 This wonderful lyre, which had been given to Apollo by Hermes 
(Mercury) in exchange for the Caduceus or rod of wealth, is said to 
have possessed such extraordinary powers, that it caused a stone, upon 
which it was laid, to become so melodious, that ever afterwards, on being 
touched, it emitted a musical sound which resembled that produced by 
the lyre itself. 


and this at once turned the scale in his favour. The 
unhappy Marsyas being defeated, had to undergo the 
terrible penalty, and his untimely fate was universally 
lamented; indeed the Satyrs and Dryads, his com- 
panions, wept so incessantly at his fate, that their tears, 
uniting together, formed a river in Phrygia which is still 
known by the name of Marsyas. 

The result of the contest with Pan was by no means 
of so serious a character. The god of shepherds having 
affirmed that he could play, more skilfully on his flute 
of seven reeds (the syrinx or Pan's pipe), than Apollo 
on his world-renowned lyre, a contest ensued, in which 
Apollo was pronounced the victor by all the judges ap- 
pointed to decide between the rival candidates. Midas, 
king of Phrygia, alone demurred at this decision, having 
the bad taste to prefer the uncouth tones of the Pan's 
pipe to the refined melodies of Apollo's lyre. Incensed 
at the obstinacy and stupidity of the Phrygian king, 
Apollo punished him by giving him the ears of an ass. 
Midas, horrified at being thus disfigured, determined to 
hide his disgrace from his subjects by means of a cap; 
his barber, however, could not be kept in ignorance of 
the fact, and was therefore bribed with rich gifts never 
to reveal it. Finding, however, that he could not keep 
the secret any longer, he dug a hole in the ground into 
which he whispered it; then closing up the aperture he 
returned home, feeling greatly relieved at having thus 
eased his mind of its burden. But after all, this very 
humiliating secret was revealed to the world, for some 
reeds which sprung up from the spot murmured inces- 
santly, as they waved to and fro in the wind: "King 
Midas has the ears of an ass." 

In the sad and beautiful story of Niobe, daughter of 
Tantalus, and wife of Amphion, king of Thebes, we have 
another instance of the severe punishments meted out by 
Apollo to those who in any way incurred his displeasure. 
Niobe was the proud mother of seven sons and seven 
daughters, and exulting in the number of her children, 
she, upon one occasion, ridiculed the worship of Leto, 



because she had but one son and daughter, and desired 
the Thebans, for the future, to give to her the honours 
and sacrifices which they had hitherto offered to the 
mother of Apollo and Artemis. The sacrilegious words 
had scarcely passed her lips 
before Apollo called upon his 
sister Artemis to assist him in 
avenging the insult offered to 
their mother, and soon their in- 
visible arrows sped through the 
air. Apollo slew all the sons, 
and Artemis had already slain 
all the daughters save one, the 
youngest and best beloved, whom 
Niobe clasped in her arms, when 
the agonized mother implored 
the enraged deities to leave her, 
at least, one out of all her beau- 
tiful children; but, even as she 
prayed, the deadly arrow reached 
the heart of this child also. 
Meanwhile the unhappy father, unable to bear the loss 
of his children, had destroyed himself, and his dead body 
lay beside the lifeless corpse of his favourite son. 
Widowed and childless, the heart-broken mother sat 
among her dead, and the gods, in pity for her unutterable 
woe, turned her into a stone, which they transferred 
to Siphylus, her native Phrygian mountain, where it still 
continues to shed tears. 

The punishment of Niobe forms the subject of a mag- 
nificent marble group, which was found at Rome in the 
year 1553, and is now in the gallery of Uffizi, at Florence, 
The renowned singer Orpheus was the son of Apolle 
and Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, and, as might be 
expected with parents so highly gifted, was endowed 
with most distinguished intellectual qualifications. He 
was a poet, a teacher of the religious doctrines known as 
the Orphic mysteries, and a great musician, having in- 
herited from his father an extraordinary genius for music. 


When he sang to the sweet tones of his lyre, he charmed 
all nature, and summoned round him the wild beasts of 
the forests, who, under the influence of his music, became 
tame and gentle as lambs. The madly rushing torrents 
stopped their rapid course, and the very mountains and 
tree? moved from their places at the sound of his entranc- 
ing melodies. 

Orpheus became united to a lovely nymph named 
Eurydice, the daughter of the sea-god Xereus, whom he 
fondly loved. She was no less attached to him, and their 
married life was full of joy and happiness. But it was 
only short-lived; for Aristseus, 1 the half-brother of Or- 
pheus, having fallen in love with the beautiful Eurydice, 
forcibly endeavoured to take her from her husband, and 
as she fled across some fields to elude his pursuit, she was 
bitten in the foot by a venomous snake, which lay con- 
cealed in the long grass. Eurydice died of the wound, 
and her sorrowing husband filled the groves and valleys 
with his piteous and unceasing lamentations. 

His longing to behold her once more became at last 
so unconquerable, that he determined to brave the hor- 
rors of the lower world, in order to entreat Aides to 
restore to him his beloved wife. Armed only with his 
golden lyre, the gift of Apollo, he descended into the 
gloomy depths of Hades, where his heavenly music ar- 
rested for a while the torments of the unhappy sufferers. 
The stone of Sisyphus remained motionless; Tantalus for- 
got his perpetual thirst; the wheel of Ixion ceased to 
revolve; and even the Furies shed tears, and withheld 
for a time their persecutions. Undismayed at the scenes 
of horror and suffering which met his view on every side, 
he pursued his way until he arrived at the palace of 
Aides. Presenting himself before the throne on which 
sat the stony-hearted king and his consort Persephone, 
Orpheus recounted his woes to the sound of his lyre. 
Moved to pity by his sweet strains, they listened to his 

1 Aristseus was worshipped as a rural divinity in various parts of 
Greece, and was supposed to have taught mankind how to. catch bees, 
and to utilize honey and wax. 

(73) F 


melancholy story, and consented to release Eurydice on 
condition that he should not look upon her until they 
reached the upper world. Orpheus gladly promised to 
comply with this injunction, and, followed by Eurydice, 
ascended the steep and gloomy path which led to the 
realms of life and light All went well until he was just 
about to pass the extreme limits of Hades, when, forget- 
ting for the moment the hard condition, he turned to 
convince himself that his beloved wife was really behind 
him. The glance was fatal, and destroyed all his hopes 
of happiness; for, as he yearningly stretched out his arms 
to embrace her, she was caught back, and vanished from 
his sight for ever. The grief of Orpheus at this second 
loss was even more intense than before, and he now 
avoided all human society. In vain did the nymphs, his 
once chosen companions, endeavour to win him back to 
his accustomed haunts; their power to charm was gone, 
and music was now his sole consolation. He" wandered 
forth alone, choosing the wildest and most secluded paths, 
and the hills and vales resounded with his pathetic melo- 
dies. At last he happened to cross the path of some 
Thracian women, who were performing the wild rites of 
Dionysus (Bacchus), and in their mad fury at his re- 
fusing to join them, they furiously attacked him, and 
tore him in pieces. In pity for his unhappy fate, the 
Muses collected his remains, which they buried at the 
foot of Mount Olympus, and the nightingale warbled a 
funeral dirge over his grave. His head was thrown into 
the river Hebrus, and as it floated down the stream, the 
lips still continued to murmur the beloved name of 

The chief seat of the worship of Apollo was at Delphi, 
and here was the most magnificent of all his temples, the 
foundation of which reaches far beyond all historical 
knowledge, and which contained immense riches, the 
offerings of kings and private persons, who had received 
favourable replies from the oracle. The Greeks believed 
Delphi to be the central point of the earth, because two 
eagles sent forth by Zeus, one from the east, the other 


from the west, were said to have arrived there at the 
same moment. 

The Pythian games, celebrated in honour of the victory 
of Apollo over the Python, took place at Delphi every 
four years. At the first celebration of these games, gods, 
goddesses, and heroes contended for the prizes, which 
were at first of gold or silver, but consisted, in later times, 
of simple laurel wreaths. 

On account of its being the place of his birth, the whole 
island of Delos was consecrated to Apollo, where he was 
worshipped with great solemnity; the greatest care was 
taken to preserve the sanctity of the spot, for which 
reason no one was suffered to be buried there. At the 
foot of Mount Cynthus was a splendid temple of Apollo 
which possessed an oracle, and was enriched with magni- 
ficent offerings from all parts of Greece. Even foreign 
nations held this island sacred, for when the Persians 
passed it on their way to attack Greece, they not only 
sailed by, leaving it uninjured, but sent rich presents to 
the temple. Games, called Delia, instituted by Theseus, 
were celebrated at Delos every four years. 

A festival termed the Gymnopedsea was held at Sparta 
in honour of Apollo, in which boys sang the praises of 
the gods, and of the three hundred Lacedaemonians who 
fell at the battle of Thermopylae. 

Wolves and hawks Avere sacrificed to Apollo, and the 
birds sacred to him were the hawk, raven, and swan. 


The worship of Apollo never occupied the all-important 
position in Rome which it held in Greece, nor was it in- 
troduced till a comparatively late period. There was no 
sanctuary erected to this divinity until B.C. 430, when the 
Romans, in order to avert a plague, built a temple in his 
honour; but we do not find the worship of Apollo be- 
coming in any way prominent until the time of Augus- 
tus, who, having called upon this god for aid before the 
famous battle of Actium, ascribed the victory which he 



gained, to his influence, and accordingly erected a temple 
there, which he enriched with a portion of the spoil. 

Augustus afterwards built another temple in honour 
of Apollo, on the Palatine Hill, in which at the foot of 
his statue, were deposited two gilt chests, containing the 
Sibylline oracles. These oracles were collected to replace 
the Sibylline books originally preserved in the temple of 
Jupiter, which were destroyed when that edifice was 

The Sibyls were maidens who had received the gift of 
prophecy, and the privilege of living to an incredible age. 
One of these Sibyls (known as the Cumsean) appeared to 
Tarquinius Superbtis, the last 
king of Eome, offering for 
sale nine books, which she in- 
formed him had been written 
by herself. Not knowing 
who she was, Tarquin refused 
to buy them, upon which she 
burned three, and returned 
with six, demanding the same 
price as before. Being again 
driven away as an impostor, 
she again retired and burned 
three more, returning with 
the remaining three, for which 
she still asked the same price 
as at first. Tarquin, amazed 
at her inconsistency, now con- 
sulted the Augurs, who blamed him for not having bought 
the nine books when they were first offered to him, and 
desired him to secure the remaining three, at whatever 
price they were to be had. He, accordingly, purchased 
the volumes, which were found to contain predictions of 
great importance to the Romans. After the disposal of 
the books, the Sibyl vanished, and was seen no more. 

The most beautiful and renowned of all the statues of 
Apollo now in existence, is that known as the Apollo 
Belvedere, which was found in 1503 among the ruins of 


ancient Antium. It was purchased by Pope Julius II., 
who removed it to the Belvedere of the Vatican, from 
whence it takes its name, and where it has been, for more 
than three hundred years, the admiration of the world. 
When Rome was taken, and plundered by the French, 
this celebrated statue was transported to Paris, and placed 
in the museum there, but in 1815 it was restored to its 
former place in the Vatican. The attitude of the figure, 
which is more than seven feet high, is inimitable in its 
freedom, grace, and majesty. The forehead is noble and 
intellectual, and the whole countenance so exquisite in its 
beauty, that one pauses spell-bound to gaze on so perfect 
a conception. The god has a very youthful appearance, 
as is usual in all his representations, and with the excep- 
tion of a short mantle which falls from his shoulders, is 
unclothed. He stands against the trunk of a tree, up 
which a serpent is creeping, and his left arm is out- 
stretched, as though about to punish. 


Hecate would appear to have been originally a moon- 
goddess worshipped by the Thracians. She became con- 
founded, and eventually identified with Selene and Per- 
sephone, and is one of those divinities of whom the 
ancients had various conflicting accounts. 

Hecate was the daughter of Perses and "gold-wreathed" 
Astrsea (the starry night 1 ), and her sway extended over 
earth, heaven, and hell, for which reason she is repre- 
sented in works of art as a triple divinity, having three 
female bodies, all young and beautiful, and united to- 

In later times, when this divinity becomes identified 
with Persephone, she is supposed to inhabit the lower 
world as a malignant deity, and henceforward it is the 
gloomy, awe-inspiring side of her character which alone 

1 Astrsea was the daughter of the Titans Corns and Phoebe. Perses 
was son of the Titans Crios and Eurybia. 


develops itself. She now presides over all practices con- 
nected with witchcraft and enchantments, haunts sepul- 
chres, and the point where two roads cross, and lonely 
spots where murders have been committed. She was 
supposed to be connected with the appearance of ghosts 
and spectres, to possess unlimited influence over the 
powers of the lower world, and to be able to lay to 
rest unearthly apparitions by her magic spells and in- 

Hecate appears as a gigantic woman, bearing a torch 
and a sword. Her feet and hair are formed of snakes, 
and her passage is accompanied by voices of thunder, 
weird shrieks and yells, and the deep baying and howl- 
ing of dogs. 

Her favour was propitiated by offerings and sacrifices, 
principally consisting of black lambs. Her festivals were 
celebrated at night, by torchlight, when these animals 
were offered to her, accompanied by many peculiar cere- 
monies. These ceremonies were carried out with the 
minutest attention to details, as it was believed that the 
omission of the slightest particular would afford to her 
ministers, the evil spirits of the lower world, who hovered 
round the worshippers, an opportunity for entering among 
them, and exerting their baneful influence. At the end 
of every month food was placed wherever two roads met, 
in readiness for her and other malignant divinities. 

In studying the peculiar characteristics which Hecate 
assumes Avhen she usurps the place of Persephone, the 
rightful mistress of the lower world, we are reminded of 
the various superstitions with regard to spectres, witch- 
craft, &c., which have, even down to our own times, 
exerted so powerful an influence over the minds of the 
ignorant, and which would appear to owe their origin to 
a remote pagan source. 


Just as Helios personified the sun, so his sister Selene 
represented the moon, and was supposed to drive her 


chariot across the sky whilst her brother was reposing 
after the toils of the day. 

When the shades of evening began to enfold the earth, 
the two milk-white steeds of Selene rose out of the mys- 
terious depths of Oceanus. Seated in a silvery chariot, 
and accompanied by her daughter Herse, the goddess of 
the dew, appeared the mild and gentle queen of the night, 
with a crescent on her fair brow, a gauzy veil flowing 
behind, and a lighted torch in her hand. 

Selene greatly admired a beautiful young shepherd 
named Endymion, to whom Zeus had accorded the privi- 
lege of eternal youth, combined with the faculty of sleep- 
ing whenever he desired, and as long as he wished. Seeing 
this lovely youth fast asleep on Mount Latmus, Selene 
was so struck with his beauty, that she came down every 
night from heaven to watch over and protect him. 


Artemis was worshipped by the Greeks under various 
appellations, to each of which belonged special charac- 
teristics. Thus she is known as the Arcadian, Ephesian 
and Brauronian Artemis, and also as Selene-Artemis, and 
in order fully to comprehend the worship of this divinity, 
we must consider her under each aspect. 


The Arcadian Artemis (the real Artemis of the Greeks) 
was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin-sister of 
Apollo. She was the goddess of Hunting and Chastity, 
and having obtained from her father permission to lead 
a life of celibacy, she ever remained a maiden-divinity. 
Artemis is the feminine counterpart of her brother, the 
glorious god of Light, and, like him, though she deals 
out destruction and sudden death' to men and animals, 
she is also able to alleviate suffering and cure diseases. 
Like Apollo also, she is skilled in the use of the bow, but 
in a far more eminent degree, for in the character of 
Artemis, who devoted herself to the chase with passionate 


ardour, this becomes an all-distinguishing feature. Armed 
with her bow and quiver, and attended by her train of 
huntresses, who were nymphs of the woods and springs, 
she roamed over the mountains in pursuit of her favourite 
exercise, destroying in her course the wild animals of the 
forest When the chase was ended, Artemis and her 
maidens loved to assemble in a shady grove, or on the 
banks of a favourite stream, where they joined in the 
merry song, or graceful dance, and made the hills resound 
with their joyous shouts. 

As the type of purity and chastity, Artemis was es- 
pecially venerated by young maidens, who, before marry- 
ing, sacrificed their hair to her. She was also the 
patroness of those vowed to celibacy, and punished 
severely any infringement of their obligation. 

The huntress-goddess is represented as being a head 
taller than her attendant nymphs, and always appears as 
a youthful and slender maiden. Her features are beauti- 
ful, but wanting in gentleness of expression; her hair 
is gathered negligently into a knot at the back of her 
Avell-sliaped head; and her figure, though somewhat 
masculine, is most graceful in its attitude and propor- 
tions. The short robe she wears, leaves her limbs free 
for the exercise of the chase, her devotion to which is 
indicated by the quiver which is slung over her shoulder, 
and the bow which she bears in her hand. 

There are many famous statues of this divinity; but 
the most celebrated is that known as the Diana of Ver- 
sailles, now in the Louvre, which fonns a not unworthy 
companion to the Apollo-Belvedere of the Vatican. In 
this statue, the goddess appears in the act of rescuing a 
hunted deer from its pursuers, on Avhom she is turning 
with angry mien. One hand is laid protectingly on the 
head of the stag, whilst with the other she draws an 
arrow from the quiver which hangs over her shoulder. 

Her attributes are the bow, quiver, and spear. The 
animals sacred to her are the hind, dog, bear, and wild 

Artemis promptly resented any disregard or neglect of 


her worship; a remarkable instance of this is shown in 
the story of the Calydonian boar-hunt, which is as fol- 
lows : 

Oeneus, king of Caly- 
don in ^Etolia, had in- 
curred the displeasure of 
Artemis by neglecting to 
include her in a general 
sacrifice to the gods which 
he had offered up, out of 
gratitude for a bountiful 
harvest. The goddess, en- 
raged at this neglect, sent 
a wild boar of extraordi- 
nary size and prodigious 
strength, which destroyed 
the sprouting grain, laid 
waste the fields, and threat- 
ened the inhabitants with 
famine and death. At this 
juncture, Meleager, the 
brave son of Oeneus, re- 
turned from the Argonautic expedition, and finding 
his country ravaged by this dreadful scourge, entreated 
the assistance of all the celebrated heroes of the age 
to join him in hunting the ferocious monster. Among 
the most famous of those who responded to his call were 
Jason, Castor and Pollux, Idas and Lynceus, Peleus, 
Telamon, Admetus, Perithous, and Theseus. The 
brothers of Althoa, wife of Oeneus, joined the hunters, 
and Meleager also enlisted into his service the fleet- 
footed huntress Atalanta. 

The father of this maiden Avas Schoeneus, an Arcadian, 
who, disappointed at the birth of a daughter when he 
had particularly desired a son, had exposed her on the 
Parthenian Hill, where he left her to perish. Here she 
was nursed by a she-bear, and at last found by some 
hunters, who reared her, and gave her the name of 
Atalanta. As the maiden greAv up, she became an ardent 


lover of the chase, and was alike distinguished for her 
beauty and courage. Though often wooed, she led a life 
of strict celibacy, an oracle having predicted that inevit- 
able misfortune awaited her, should she give herself in 
marriage to any of her numerous suitors. 

Many of the heroes objected to hunt in company with 
a maiden; but Meleager, who loved Atalanta, overcame 
their opposition, and the valiant band set out on their 
expedition. Atalanta was the first to wound the boar 
with her spear, but not before two of the heroes had met 
their death from his fierce tusks. After a long and 
desperate encounter, Meleager succeeded in killing the 
monster, and presented the head and hide to Atalanta, as 
trophies of the victory. The uncles of Meleager, how- 
ever, forcibly took the hide from the maiden, claiming 
their right to the spoil as next of kin, if Meleager re- 
signed it. Artemis, whose anger was still unappeased, 
caused a violent quarrel to arise between uncles and 
nephew, and, in the struggle which ensued, Meleager 
killed his mother's brothers, and then restored the hide 
to Atalanta. "When Althea beheld the dead bodies of 
the slain heroes, her grief and anger knew no bounds. 
She swore to revenge the death of her brothers on her 
own son, and unfortunately for him, the instrument of 
vengeance lay ready to her hand. 

At the birth of Meleager, the Moirae, or Fates, entered 
the house of Oeneus, and pointing to a piece of wood 
then burning on the hearth, declared that as soon as it 
was consumed the babe would surely die. On hearing 
this, Althea seized the brand, laid it up carefully in a 
chest, and henceforth preserved it as her most precious 
possession. But now, love for her son giving place to 
the resentment she felt against the murderer of her 
brothers, she threw the fatal brand into the devouring 
flames. As it consumed, the vigour of Meleager wasted 
away, and when it was reduced to ashes, he expired. Re- 
penting too late the terrible effects of her rash deed, 
Althea, in remorse and despair, took away her own life. 

The news of the courage and intrepidity displayed by 


Atalanta in the famous boar-hunt, being carried to the 
ears of her father, caused him to acknowledge his long- 
lost child. Urged by him to choose one of her numerous 
suitors, she consented to do so, but made it a condition 
that he alone, who could outstrip her in the race, should 
become her husband, whilst those she defeated should be 
put to death by her, with the lance which she bore in her 
hand. Thus many suitors had perished, for the maiden 
was unequalled for swiftness of foot, but at last a beautiful 
youth, named Hippomenes, who had vainly endeavoured 
to win her love by his assiduous attentions in the chase, 
ventured to enter the fatal lists. Knowing that only by 
stratagem could he hope to be successful, he obtained, by 
the help of Aphrodite, three golden apples from the 
garden of the Hesperides, which he threw down at in- 
tervals during his course. Atalanta, secure of victory, 
stooped to pick up the tempting fruit, and, in the mean- 
time, Hippomenes arrived at the goal. He became the 
husband of the lovely Atalanta, but forgot, in his newly 
found happiness, the gratitude which he owed to Aphro- 
dite, and the goddess withdrew her favour from the pair. 
Not long after, the prediction which foretold misfortune 
to Atalanta, in the event of her marriage, was verified, 
for she and her husband, having strayed unsanctioned into 
a sacred grove of Zeus, were both transformed into lions. 

The trophies of the ever-memorable boar-hunt had 
been carried by Atalanta into Arcadia, and, for many 
centuries, the identical hide and enormous tusks of the 
Calydonian boar hung in the temple of Athene at Tegea. 
The tusks were afterwards conveyed to Rome, and shown 
there among other curiosities. 

A forcible instance of the manner in which Artemis 
resented any intrusion on her retirement, is seen in the 
fate which befell the famous hunter Actaeon, who 
happening one day to see Artemis and her attendants 
bathing, imprudently ventured to approach the spot. 
The goddess, incensed at his audacity, sprinkled him with 
water, and transformed him into a stag, whereupon he was 
torn in pieces and devoured by his own dogs. 



The Ephesian Artemis, known to us as "Diana of 
the Ephesians," was a very ancient Asiatic divinity of 
Persian origin called Metra, 1 whose worship the Greek 
colonists found already established, when they first settled 
in Asia Minor, and whom they identified with their own 
Greek Artemis, though she really possessed but one single 
attribute in common with their home deity. 

Metra was a twofold divinity, and represented, in one 
phase of her character, all-pervading love; in the other 
she was the light of heaven; and as Artemis, in her char- 
acter as Selene, was the only Greek female divinity who 
represented celestial light, the Greek settlers, according 
to their custom of fusing foreign deities into their own, 
seized at once upon this point of resemblance, and decided 
that Metra should henceforth be regarded as identical 
with Artemis. 

In her character as the love which pervades all nature, 
and penetrates everywhere, they believed her also to be 
present in the mysterious Realm of Shades, where she 
exercised her benign sway, replacing to a certain extent 
that ancient divinity Hecate, and partly usurping also 
the place of Persephone, as mistress of the lower world. 
Thus they believed that it was she who permitted the 
spirits of the departed to revisit the earth, in order to 
communicate with those they loved, and to give them 
timely warning of coming evil. In fact, this great, 
mighty, and omnipresent power of love, as embodied in 
the Ephesian Artemis, was believed by the great thinkers 
of old, to be the ruling spirit of the universe, and it was 
to her influence that all the mysterious and beneficent 
workings of nature were ascribed. 

There was a magnificent temple erected to this divinity 
at Ephesus (a city of Asia Minor), which was ranked 
among the seven wonders of the world, and was un- 
equalled in beauty and grandeur. The interior of this 

1 Called also Anaitk-Aphroditis. 


edifice was adorned with statues and paintings, and con- 
tained one hundred and twenty-seven columns, sixty feet 
in height, each column having been placed there by a 
different king. The wealth deposited in this temple was 
enormous, and the goddess was here worshipped with 
particular awe and solemnity. In the interior of the 
edifice stood a statue of her, formed of ebony, with lions 
on her arms and turrets on her head, whilst a number of 
breasts indicated the fruitfulness of the earth and of na- 
ture. Ctesiphon was the principal architect of this world- 
renowned structure, which, however, was not entirely 
completed till two hundred and twenty years after the 
foundation-stone was laid. But the labour of centuries 
was destroyed in a single night; for a man called Hero- 
stratus, seized with the insane desire of making his name 
famous to all succeeding generations, set fire to it and 
completely destroyed it. 1 So great was the indignation 
and sorrow of the Ephesians at this calamity, that they 
enacted a law, forbidding the incendiary's name to be 
mentioned, thereby however, defeating their own object, 
for thus the name of Herostratus has been handed down 
to posterity, and will live as long as the memory of the 
famous temple of Ephesus. 


In ancient times, the country which we now call the 
Crimea, was knoAvn by the name of the Taurica Cherson- 
nesus. It was colonized by Greek settlers, who, finding 
that the Scythian inhabitants had a native divinity some- 
what resembling their own Artemis, identified her with 
the huntress-goddess of the mother-country. The worship 
of this Taurian Artemis was attended with the most 
barbarous practices, for, in accordance with a law which 
she had enacted, all strangers, whether male or female, 
landing, or shipwrecked on her shores, were sacrificed 
upon her altars. It is supposed that this decree was 

1 This occurred during the night Alexander the Great was born. 


issued by the Taurian goddess of Chastity, to protect the 
purity of her followers, by keeping them apart from foreign 

The interesting story of Iphigenia, a priestess in the 
temple of Artemis at Tauris, forms the subject of one of 
Schiller's most beautiful plays. The circumstances oc- 
curred at the commencement of the Trojan war, and are 
as follows: The fleet, collected by the Greeks for the 
siege of Troy, had assembled at Aulis, in Boeotia, and 
was about to set sail, when Agamemnon, the commander- 
in-chief, had the misfortune to kill accidentally, a stag 
which was grazing in a grove, sacred to Artemis. The 
offended goddess sent continuous calms which delayed 
the departure of the fleet, and Calchas, the soothsayer, 
who had accompanied the expedition, declared that 
nothing less than the sacrifice of Agamemnon's favourite 
daughter, Iphigenia, would appease the wrath of the god- 
dess. At these words, the heroic heart of the brave leader 
sank within him, and he declared that rather than consent 
to so fearful an alternative, he would give up his share in 
the expedition and return to Argos. In this dilemma 
Odysseus and the other great generals called a council to 
discuss the matter, and, after much deliberation, it was 
decided that private feeling must yield to the welfare of 
the state. For a long time the unhappy Agamemnon 
turned a deaf ear to their arguments, but at last they 
succeeded in persuading him that it was his duty to make 
the sacrifice. He, accordingly, despatched a messenger to 
his wife, Clytemnaestra, begging her to send Iphigenia 
to him, alleging as a pretext that the great hero Achilles 
desired to make her his wife. Rejoicing at the brilliant 
destiny which awaited her beautiful daughter, the fond 
mother at once obeyed the command, and sent her to 
Aulis. When the maiden arrived at her destination, and 
discovered, to her horror, the dreadful fate which awaited 
her, she threw herself in an agony of grief at her father's 
feet, and with sobs and tears entreated him to have 
mercy on her, and to spare her young life. But alas! 
her doom was sealed, and her now repentant and heart- 


broken father was powerless to avert it. The unfortunate 
victim was bound to the altar, and already the fatal 
knife was raised to deal the death-blow, when suddenly 
Iphigenia disappeared from view, and in her place on 
the altar, lay a beautiful deer ready to be sacrificed. It 
was Artemis herself, who, pitying the youth and beauty 
of her victim, caused her to be conveyed in a cloud to 
Taurica, where she became one of her priestesses, and 
intrusted with the charge of her temple; a dignity, how- 
ever, which necessitated the offering of those human 
sacrifices presented to Artemis. 

Many years passed away, during which time the long 
and wearisome siege of Troy had come to an end, and the 
brave Agamemnon had returned home to meet death at 
the hands of his wife and Aegisthus. But his daughter, 
Iphigenia, was still an exile from her native country, and 
continued to perform the terrible duties which her office 
involved. She had long given up all hopes of ever being 
restored to her friends, when one day two Greek strangers 
landed on Taurica's inhospitable shores. These were 
Orestes and Pylades, whose romantic attachment to each 
other has made their names synonymous for devoted 
self-sacrificing friendship. Orestes was Iphigenia's brother, 
and Pylades her cousin, and their object in undertaking 
an expedition fraught with so much peril, was to obtain 
the statue of the Taurian Artemis. Orestes, having in- 
curred the anger of the Furies for avenging the murder 
of his father Agamemnon, was pursued by them where- 
ever he went, until at last he was informed by the oracle 
of Delphi that, in order to pacify them, he must convey 
the image of the Taurian Artemis from Tauris to Attica. 
This he at once resolved to do, and accompanied by his 
faithful friend Pylades, who insisted on sharing the 
dangers of the undertaking, he set out for Taurica. But 
the unfortunate youths had hardly stepped on shore 
before they were seized by the natives, who, as usual, 
conveyed them for sacrifice to the temple of Artemis. 
Iphigenia, discovering that they were Greeks, though 
unaware of their near relationship to herself, thought the 


opportunity a favourable one for sending tidings of her 
existence to her native country, and, accordingly, requested 
one of the strangers to be the bearer of a letter from her to 
her family. A magnanimous dispute now arose between the 
friends, and each besought the other to accept the precious 
privilege of life and freedom. Pylades, at length over- 
come by the urgent entreaties of Orestes, agreed to be 
the bearer of the missive, but on looking more closely at 
the superscription, he observed, to his intense surprise, 
that it was addressed to Orestes. Hereupon an explana- 
tion followed; the brother and sister recognized each 
other, amid joyful tears and loving embraces, and assisted 
by her friends and kinsmen, Iphigenia escaped with them 
from a country where she had spent so many unhappy 
days, and witnessed so many scenes of horrer and anguish. 
The fugitives, having contrived to obtain the image of 
the Taurian Artemis, carried it with them to Brauron in 
Attica. This divinity was henceforth known as the 
Brauronian Artemis, and the rites which had rendered 
her worship so infamous in Taurica were now introduced 
into Greece, and human victims bled freely under the 
sacrificial knife, both in Athens and Sparta. The revolt- 
ing practice of offering human sacrifices to her, was con- 
tinued until the time of Lycurgus, the great Spartan law- 
giver, who put an end to it by substituting in its place 
one, which was hardly less barbarous, namely, the scourg- 
ing of youths, who were whipped on the altars of the 
Brauronian Artemis in the most cruel manner; sometimes 
indeed they expired under the lash, in which case their 
mothers, far from lamenting their fate, are said to have 
rejoiced, considering this an honourable death for their 


Hitherto we have seen Artemis only in the various 
phases of her terrestrial character; but just as her brother 
Apollo drew into himself by degrees the attributes of 
that more ancient divinity Helios, the sun-god, so, in 
like manner, she came to be identified in later times 


with Selene, the moon-goddess, in which character she is 
always represented as wearing on her forehead a glittering 
crescent, whilst a flowing veil, bespangled with stars, 
reaches to her feet, and a long robe completely envelops 


The Diana of the Romans was identified with the 
Greek Artemis, with whom she shares that peculiar tri- 
partite character, which so strongly marks the individu- 
ality of the Greek goddess. In heaven she was Luna 
(the moon), on earth Diana (the huntress-goddess), and 
in the lower world Proserpine; but, unlike the Ephesian 
Artemis, Diana, in her character as Proserpine, carries 
with her into the lower world no element of love or sym- 
pathy; she is, on the contrary, characterized by practices 
altogether hostile to man, such as the exercise of witch- 
craft, evil charms, and Other antagonistic influences, and 
is, in fact, the Greek Hecate in her later development. 

The statues of Diana were generally erected at a point 
where three roads met, for which reason she is called 
Trivia (from tri, three, and via, way). 

A temple was dedicated to her on the Aventine hill by 
Servius Tullius, who is said to have first introduced the 
worship of this divinity into Eome. 

The Nemoralia, or Grove Festivals, were celebrated in 
her honour on the 13th of August, on the Lacus Nemor- 
ensis, or forest-buried lake, near Aricia. The priest who 
officiated in her temple on this spot, was always a fugitive 
slave, who had gained his office by murdering his prede- 
cessor, and hence was constantly armed, in order that he 
might thus be prepared to encounter a new aspirant./ 


Hephsestus, the son of Zeus and Hera, was the god of 
fire in its beneficial aspect, and the presiding deity over 
all workmanship accomplished by means of this useful 
element. He was universally honoured, not only as the 

(73) Q 


god of all mechanical arts, but also as a house and hearth 
divinity, who exercised a beneficial influence on civilized 
society in general Unlike the other Greek divinities, 
he was ugly and deformed, being awkward in his move- 
ments, and limping in his gait. This latter defect ori- 
ginated, as we have already seen, in the wrath of his 
father Zeus, who hurled him down from heaven 1 in con- 
sequence of his taking the part of Hera, in one of the 
domestic disagreements, which so frequently arose between 
this royal pair. Hephaestus was a whole day falling from 
Olympus to the earth, where he at length alighted on the 
island of Lemnos. The inhabitants of the country, seeing 
him descending through the air, received him in their 
arms; but in spite of their care, his leg was broken by the 
fall, and he remained ever afterwards lame in one foot 
Grateful for the kindness of the Lemnians, he hence- 
forth took up his abode in their island, and there built 
for himself a superb palace, and forges for the pursuit of 
his avocation. He instructed the people how to work in 
metals, and also taught them other valuable and useful 

It is said that the first work of Hephaestus was a most 
ingenious throne of gold, with secret springs, which he 
presented to Hera. It was arranged in such a man- 
ner that, once seated, she found herself unable to move, 
and though all the gods endeavoured to extricate her, 
their efforts were unavailing. Hepha3stus thus revenged 
himself on his mother for the cruelty she had always 
displayed towards him, on account of his want of 
comeliness and grace. Dionysus, the wine-god, contrived, 
however, to intoxicate Hephaestus, and then induced him 
to return to Olympus, where, after having released the 

1 Another rersion, with regard to the origin of this defect, is that 
being born ugly and deformed, his mother Hera, disgusted at his un- 
sightliness, herself threw him violently from her lap, and it was then 
that his leg was broken, producing the lameness from which he suffered 
ever after. On this occasion he fell into the sea, and was saved by the 
sea-nymphs Thetis and Eurynome, who kept him for nine years" in a 
cavern beneath the ocean, where he made for them, in gratitude for 
their kindness, several beautiful ornaments, and trinkets of rare work- 


queen of heaven from her very undignified position, he 
became reconciled to his parents. 

He now built for himself a glorious palace on Olympus, 
of shining gold, and made for the other deities those 
magnificent edifices which they inhabited. He was as- 
sisted in his various and exquisitely skilful works of art, 
by two female statues of pure gold, formed by his own 
hand, which possessed the power of motion, and always 
accompanied him wherever he went. With the assis- 
tance of the Cyclops, he forged for Zeus his wonderful 
thunderbolts, thus investing his mighty father with a 
new power of terrible import. Zeus testified his appre- 
ciation of this precious gift, by bestowing upon Heph- 
aestus the beautiful Aphrodite in marriage, 1 but this was 
a questionable boon; for the lovely Aphrodite, who was 
the personification of all grace and beauty, felt no affec- 
tion for her ungainly and unattractive spouse, and 
amused herself by ridiculing his awkward movements 
and unsightly person. On one occasion especially, when 
Hephaestus good-naturedly took upon himself the office 
of cup-bearer to the gods, his hobbling gait and extreme 
awkwardness created the greatest mirth amongst the 
celestials, in which his disloyal partner was the first to 
join, with unconcealed merriment. 

Aphrodite greatly preferred Ares to her husband, and 
this preference naturally gave rise to much jealousy on 
the part of Hephaestus, and caused them great unhappi- 

Hephsestus appears to have been an indispensable 
member of the Olympic Assembly, where he plays the 
part of smith, armourer, chariot-builder, &c. As already 
mentioned, he' constructed the palaces where the gods re- 
sided, fashioned the golden shoes with which they trod 
the air or water, built for them their wonderful chariots, 
and shod with brass the horses of celestial breed, which 
conveyed these glittering equipages over land and sea. 
He also made the tripods which moved of themselves in 
and out of the celestial halls, formed for Zeus the far- 

1 According to some accounts Chares was the wife of Hephaestus. 



famed aegis, and erected the magnificent palace of the 
sun. He also created the brazen-footed bulls of Aetes, 
which breathed flames from their nostrils, S3nt forth clouds 
of smoke, and filled the air with their roaring. 

Among his most renowned works of art for the use of 
mortals were: the armour of Achilles and JEneas, the 
beautiful necklace of Harmonia, and the crown of Ariadne; 
but his masterpiece Avas Pandora, of whom a detailed ac- 
count has already been given. 

There was a temple on Mount Etna erected in his 
honour, which none but the pure and virtuous were per- 
mitted to enter. The entrance to this temple was guarded 
by dogs, which possessed the extraordinary faculty of 
being able to discriminate between the righteous and the 
unrighteous, fawning upon and caressing the good, whilst 
they rushed upon all evil-doers and drove them away. 

Hephaestus is usually represented as a powerful, brawny, 
and very muscular man of middle height and mature age; 
his strong uplifted arm is raised in the act of striking the 
anvil with a hammer, which he holds in one hand, whilst 
with the other he is turning a thunderbolt, which an 
eagle beside him is waiting to 
carry to Zeus. The principal 
seat of his worship was the 
island of Lemnos, where he was 
regarded with peculiar venera- 


The Roman Vulcan was mere- 
ly an importation from Greece, 
which never at any time took 
firm root in Eome, nor entered 
largely into the actual life and 
sympathies of the nation, his 
worship being unattended by 
the devotional feeling and en- 
thusiasm which characterized the religious rites of the 
other deities. He still, however, retained in Rome his 



Greek attributes as god of fire, and unrivalled master of 
the art of working in metals, and was ranked among 
the twelve great gods of Olympus, whose gilded statues 
were arranged consecutively along the Forum. His 
Roman name, Vulcan, would seem to indicate a connec- 
tion with the first great metal-working artificer of Biblical 
history, Tubal-Cain. 



Poseidon was the son of Kronos and Ehea, and the 

brother of Zeus. He was god of the sea, more particu- 
larly of the Mediterranean, and, like the element over 
which he presided, was of a 
variable disposition, now vio- 
lently agitated, and now calm 
and placid, for which reason 
he is sometimes represented 
by the poets as quiet and 
composed, and at others as 
disturbed and angry. 

In the earliest ages of Greek 
mythology, he merely sym- 
bolized the watery element; 
but in later times, as naviga- 
tion and intercourse with 
other nations engendered 
greater traffic by sea, Poseidon 
gained in importance, and 
came to be regarded as a 
distinct divinity, holding in- 
disputable dominion over the sea, and over all sea- 
divinities, who acknowledged him as their sovereign 
ruler. He possessed the power of causing at will, mighty 
and destructive tempests, in which the billows rise moun- 
tains high, the wind becomes a hurricane, land and sea 
being enveloped in thick mists, whilst destruction assails 
the unfortunate mariners exposed to their fury. On the 
other hand, his alone was the power of stilling the angry 


waves, of soothing the troubled waters, and granting safe 
voyages to mariners. For this reason, Poseidon was always 
invoked and propitiated by a libation before a voyage 
was undertaken, and sacrifices and thanksgivings were 
gratefully offered to him after a safe and prosperous 
journey by sea. 

The symbol of his power was the fisherman's fork or 
trident, 1 by means of which he produced earthquakes, 
raised up islands from the bottom of the sea, and caused 
wells to spring forth out of the earth. 

Poseidon was essentially the presiding deity over fisher- 
men, and was on that account, more particularly wor- 
shipped and revered in countries bordering on the sea- 
coast, where fish naturally formed a staple commodity 
of trade. He was supposed to vent his displeasure by 
sending disastrous inundations, which completely de- 
stroyed whole countries, and were usually accompanied 
by terrible marine monsters, who swallowed up and 
devoured those whom the floods had spared. It is pro- 
bable that these sea-monsters are the poetical figures which 
represent the demons of hunger and famine, necessarily 
accompanying a general inundation. 

Poseidon is generally represented as resembling his 
brother Zeus in features, height, and general aspect; but 
we miss in the countenance of the sea-god the kindness 
and benignity which so pleasingly distinguish his mighty 
brother. The eyes are bright and piercing, and the 
contour of the face somewhat sharper in its outline than 
that of Zeus, thus corresponding, as it were, with his 
more angry and violent nature. His hair waves in dark, 
disorderly masses over his shoulders; his chest is broad, 
and his frame powerful and stalwart; he wears a short, 
curling beard, and a band round his head. He usually 
appears standing erect in a graceful shell-chariot, drawn 
by hippocamps, or sea-horses, with golden manes and 
brazen hoofs, who bound over the dancing waves with 
such wonderful swiftness, that the chariot scarcely touches 

1 The trident resembled the arrow-headed pronged fork, used by the 
fishermen of the Mediterranean Sea in the eel-fishery. 


the water. The monsters of the deep, acknowledging 
their mighty lord, gambol playfully around him, whilst 
the sea joyfully smooths 
a path for the passage of 
its all-powerful ruler. 

He inhabited a beauti- 
ful palace at the bottom 
of the sea at JEgea in 
Euboea, and also possess- 
ed a royal residence on 
Mount Olympus, which, 
however, he only visited 
when his presence was required at the council of the gods. 
His wonderful palace beneath the waters was of vast 
extent; in its lofty and capacious halls thousands of his 
followers could assemble. The exterior of the building 
was of bright gold, which the continual wash of the 
waters preserved untarnished; in the interior, lofty and 
graceful columns supported the gleaming dome. Every- 
where fountains of glistening, silvery water played; 
everywhere groves and arbours of feathery-leaved sea- 
plants appeared, whilst rocks of pure crystal glistened 
with all the varied colours of the rainbow. Some of the 
paths were strewn with white sparkling sand, interspersed 
with jewels, pearls, and amber. This delightful abode 
was surrounded on all sides by wide fields, where there 
were whole groves of dark purple coralline, and tufts of 
beautiful scarlet-leaved plants, and sea-anemones of every 
tint. Here grew bright, pinky sea-weeds, mosses of all 
hues and shades, and tall grasses, which, growing up- 
wards, formed emerald caves and grottoes such as the 
Nereides love, whilst fish of various kinds playfully darted 
in and out, in the full enjoyment of their native element. 
Nor was illumination wanting in this fairy-like region, 
which at night was lit up by the glow-worms of the deep. 
But although Poseidon ruled with absolute power over 
the ocean and its inhabitants, he nevertheless bowed sub- 
missively to the will of the great ruler of Olympus, and 
appeared at all times desirous of conciliating him. We 


find him coming to his aid when emergency demanded, 
and frequently rendering him valuable assistance against 
his opponents. At the time when Zeus was harassed by 
the attacks of the Giants, he proved himself a most 
powerful ally, engaging in single combat with a hideous 
giant named Polybotes, whom he followed over the sea, 
and at last succeeded in destroying, by hurling upon him 
the island of Cos. 

These amicable relations between the brothers were, 
however, sometimes interrupted. Thus, for instance, 
upon one occasion Poseidon joined Hera and Athene in 
a secret conspiracy to seize upon the ruler of heaven, 
place him in fetters, and deprive him of the sovereign 
power. The conspiracy being discovered, Hera, as the 
chief instigator of this sacrilegious attempt on the divine 
person of Zeus, was severely chastised, and even beaten, 
by her enraged spouse, as a -punishment for her rebellion 
and treachery, whilst Poseidon was condemned, for the 
space of a whole year, to forego his dominion over the sea, 
and it was at this time that, in conjunction with Apollo, 
he built for Laomedon the walls of Troy. 

Poseidon married a sea-nymph named Amphitrite, 
whom he wooed under the form of a dolphin. She after- 
wards became jealous of a beautiful maiden c ailed Scylla, 
who was beloved by Poseidon, and in order to revenge 
herself she threw some herbs into a well where Scylla 
was bathing, which had the effect of metamorphosing her 
into a monster of terrible aspect, having twelve feet, six 
heads with six long necks, and a voice which resembled 
the bark of a dog. This awful monster is said to have 
inhabited a cave at a very great height in the famous 
rock which still bears her name, 1 and was supposed to 
swoop down from her rocky eminence upon every ship 
that passed, and with each of her six heads to secure a 
victim. V 

Ampftrtrite is often represented assisting Poseidon in 
attaching the sea-horses to his chariot. 

1 Scylla is a dangerous rock, much dreaded by mariners, in the Straits 


The Cyclops, who have been already alluded to in the 
history of Cronus, were the sons of Poseidon and Am- 
phitrite. They were a wild race of gigantic growth, 
similar in their nature to the earth-born Giants, and had 
only one eye each in the middle of their foreheads. They 
led a lawless life, possessing neither social manners nor 
fear of the gods, and were the workmen of Hephaestus, 
whose workshop was supposed to be in the heart of -the 
volcanic mountain ^Etna. 

Here we have another striking instance of the manner 
in which the Greeks personified the powers of nature, 
Avhich they saw in active operation around them. They 
beheld with awe, mingled with astonishment, the fire, 
stones, and ashes which poured forth from the summit of 
this and other volcanic mountains, and, with their vivacity 
of imagination, found a solution of the mystery in the sup- 
position, that the god of Fire must be busy at work with 
his men in the depths of the earth, and that the mighty 
flames which they beheld, issued in this manner from his 
subterranean forge. 

The chief representative of the Cyclops was the man- 
eating monster Polyphemus, described by Homer as having 
been blinded and outwitted at last by Odysseus. This 
monster fell in love with a beautiful nymph called Gala- 
tea; but, as may be supposed, his addresses were not 
acceptable to the fair maiden, who rejected them in 
favour of a youth named Acis, upon which Polyphemus, 
with his usual barbarity, destroyed the life of his rival 
by throwing upon him a gigantic rock. The blood of 
the murdered Acis, gushing out of the rock, formed a 
stream which still bears his name. 

Triton, Rhoda, 1 and Benthesicyme were also children 
of Poseidon and Amphitrite. 

The sea-god was the father of two giant sons called 
Otus and Ephialtes. 2 When only nine years old they 

3 The island of Rhodes owes its name to her. 

2 It is worthy of notice that the sons of Poseidon were, for the most 
part, distinguished by groat force and turbulence of character, in 
keeping with the element over which their father was the presiding 


were said to be twenty-seven cubits 1 in height and nine 
in breadth. These youthful giants were as rebellious as 
they were powerful, even presuming to threaten the gods 
themselves with hostilities. During the war of the Gigan- 
tomachia, they endeavoured to scale heaven by piling 
mighty mountains one upon another. Already had they 
succeeded in placing Mount Ossa on Olympus and Pelion 
on Ossa, when this impious project was frustrated by 
Apollo, who destroyed them with his arrows. It was 
supposed that had not their lives been thus cut off before 
reaching maturity, their sacrilegious designs would have 
been carried into effect 

Pelias and Neleus were also sons of Poseidon. Their 
mother Tyro was attached to the river-god Enipeus, 
whose form Poseidon assumed, and thus won her love. 
Pelias became afterwards famous in the story of the 
Argonauts, and Neleus was the father of Nestor, who 
was distinguished in the Trojan War. 

The Greeks believed that it was to Poseidon they 
were indebted for the existence of the horse, which he is 
said to have produced in the following manner: Athene 
and Poseidon both claiming the right to name Cecropia 
(the ancient name of Athens), a violent dispute arose, 
which was finally settled by an assembly of the Olympian 
gods, who decided that whichever of the contending 
parties presented mankind with the most useful gift, 
should obtain the privilege of naming the city. Upon 
this Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, and 
the horse sprang forth in all his untamed strength and 
graceful beauty. From the spot which Athene touched 
with her wand, issued the olive-tree, whereupon the gods 
unanimously awarded to her the victory, declaring her 
gift to be the emblem of peace and plenty, whilst that of 
Poseidon was thought to be the symbol of war and blood- 
deity. They were giants in power, and intractable, fiery, and impatient 
by nature, spuming all efforts to control them ; in all respects, therefore, 
fitting representatives of their progenitor, the mighty ruler of the sea. 

1 A cubit is the length from the elbow to the extremity of the middle 
finger, and therefore an idefinite measure, but modern usage takes it 
as representing a length of seventeen to eighteen inches. 


shed Athene accordingly called the city Athens, after 
herself, and it has ever since retained this name. 

Poseidon tamed the horse for the use of mankind, and 
was believed to have taught men the art of managing horses 
by the bridle. The Isthmian games (so named because 
they were held on the Isthmus of Corinth), in which 
horse and chariot races were a distinguishing feature, 
were instituted in honour of Poseidon. 

He was more especially worshipped in the Pelopon- 
nesus, though universally revered throughout Greece and 
in the south of Italy. His sacrifices were generally 
black and white bulls, also wild boars and rams. His 
usual attributes are the trident, horse, and dolphin. 

In some parts of Greece this divinity was identified with 
the sea-god Xereus, for which reason the Nereides, or 
daughters of Xereus, are represented as accompanying him. 


The Eomans worshipped Poseidon under the name of 
Neptune, and invested him with all the attributes which 
belong to the Greek divinity. 

The Roman commanders never undertook any naval 
expedition without propitiating Neptune by a sacrifice. 

His temple at Rome was in the Campus Martius, and 
the festivals commemorated in his honour were called 
Xeptunalia, j^. 


Oceanus was the son of Uranus and Ggea. He was 
the personification of the ever-flowing stream, which, 
according to the primitive notions of the early Greeks, 
encircled the world, and from which sprang all the rivers 
and streams that watered the earth. He was married to 
Tethys, one of the Titans, and was the father of a numer- 


ous progeny called the Oceanides, who are said to have 
been three thousand in number. He alone, of all the 
Titans, refrained from taking part against Zeus in the 
Titanomachia, and was, on that account, the only one of 
the primeval divinities permitted to retain his dominion 
under the new dynasty. 


Nereus appears to have been the personification of the 
sea in its calm and placid moods, and was, after Posei- 
don, the most important of the sea-deities. He is repre- 
sented as a kind and benevolent old man, possessing the 
gift of prophecy, and presiding more particularly over 
the ^Egean Sea, of which he was considered to be the 
protecting spirit. There he dwelt with his wife Doris 
and their fifty blooming daughters, the Nereides, beneath 
the waves in a beautiful grotto-palace, and was ever 
ready to assist distressed mariners in the hour of danger. 


Proteus, more familiarly known as " The Old Man of 
the Sea," was a son of Poseidon, and gifted with pro- 
phetic power. But he had an invincible objection to 
being consulted in his capacity as seer, and those who 
wished him to foretell events, watched for the hour of 
noon, when he was in the habit of coming up "to the 
island of Pharos, 1 with Poseidon's flock of seals, which he 
tended at the bottom of the sea. Surrounded by these 
creatures of the deep, he used to slumber beneath the 
gratefuj shade of the rocks. This was the favourable 
moment to seize the prophet, who, in order to avoid 
importunities, would change himself into an infinite variety 
of forms. But patience gained the day; for if he were 
only held long enough, he became wearied at last, and, 
resuming his true form, gave the information desired, 
after which he dived down again to the bottom of the 
sea, accompanied by the animals he tended. 
1 On the Egyptian coast. 



Triton was the only son of Poseidon and Ampliitrite, 
but he possessed little influ- 
ence, being altogether a minor 
divinity. He is usually re- 
presented as preceding his 
father and acting as his trum- 
peter, using a conch-shell 
for this purpose. He lived 
with his parents in their 
beautiful golden palace be- 
neath the sea at JEgea, and 
his favourite pastime was to ride over the billows on horses 
or sea-monsters. Triton is always represented as half 
man, half fish, the body below the waist terminating in 
the tail of a dolphin. We frequently find mention of 
Tritons who are either the offspring or kindred of Triton. 


Glaucus is said to have become a sea-divinity in the 
following manner. While angling one day, he observed 
that the fish he caught and threw on the bank, at once 
nibbled at the grass and then leaped back into the water. 
His curiosity was naturally excited, and he proceeded to 
gratify it by taking up a few blades and tasting them. 
No sooner was this done than, obeying an irresistible 
impulse, he precipitated himself into the deep, and 
became a sea-god. 

Like most sea-divinities he was gifted with prophetic 
power, and each year visited all the islands and coasts 
with a train of marine monsters, foretelling all kinds of 
evil. Hence fishermen dreaded his approach, and endea- 
voured, by prayer and fasting, to avert the misfortunes 
which he prophesied. He is often represented floating 
on the billows, his body covered with mussels, sea-weed, 
and shells, wearing a full beard and long flowing hair, 
ar.d bitterly bewailing his immortality. 



silver-footed, fair-haired Thetis, who plays an 
important part in the mythology of Greece, was the 
daughter of Nereus, or, as some assert, of Poseidon. Her 
grace and beauty were so remarkable that Zeus and 
Poseidon both sought an alliance with her; but, as it had 
been foretold that a son of hers would gain supremacy 
over his father, they relinquished their intentions, and 
she became the wife of Peleus, son of Eacus. Like Pro- 
teus, Thetis possessed the power of transforming herself 
into a variety of different shapes, and when Avooed by 
Peleus she exerted this power in order to elude him. 
But, knowing that persistence would eventually succeed, 
he held her fast until she assumed her true form. Their 
nuptials were celebrated with the utmost pomp and 
magnificence, and were honoured by the presence of all 
the gods and goddesses, with the exception of Eris. How 
the goddess of discord resented her exclusion from the 
marriage festivities has already been shown. 

Thetis ever retained great influence over the mighty 
lord of heaven, which, as we shall see hereafter, she used 
in favour of her renowned son, Achilles, in the Trojan 

When Halcyone plunged into the sea in despair after 
the shipwreck and death of her husband King Ceyx, 
Thetis transformed both husband and wife into the birds 
called kingfishers (lialcyones), which, with the tender 
affection which characterized the unfortunate couple, 
always fly in pairs. The idea of the ancients was that 
these birds brought forth their young in nests, which 
float on the surface of the sea in calm weather, before 
and after the shortest day, when Thetis was said to keep 
the waters smooth and tranquil for their especial benefit; 
hence the term " halcyon-days," which signifies a period 
of rest and untroubled felicity. 



The early Greeks, with their extraordinary power of 
personifying all and every attribute of Nature, gave a dis- 
tinct personality to those mighty wonders of the deep, 
which, in all ages, have afforded matter of speculation to 
educated and uneducated alike. Among these personifica- 
tions we find Thaumas, Phorcys, and their sister Ceto, 
who were the offspring of Pontus. 

Thaumas (whose name signifies Wonder) typifies that 
peculiar, translucent condition of the surface of the sea 
when it reflects, mirror-like, various images, and appears 
to hold in its transparent embrace the flaming stars and 
illuminated cities, which are so frequently reflected on its 
glassy bosom. 

Thaumas married the lovely Electra (whose name 
signifies the sparkling light produced by electricity), 
daughter of Oceanus. Her amber-coloured hair was of 
such rare beauty that none of her fair-haired sisters could 
compare with her, and when she wept, her tears, being 
too precious to be lost, formed drops of shining amber. 

Phorcys and Ceto personified more especially the 
hidden perils and terrors of the ocean. They were the 
parents of the Gorgons, the Grsea, and the Dragon which 
guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. 


Leucothea was originally a mortal named Ino, daugh- 
ter of Cadmus, king of Thebes. She married Athamas, 
king of Orchomenus, who, incensed at her unnatural 
conduct to her step-children, 1 pursued her and her son 
to the sea-shore, when, seeing no hope of escape, she 
flung herself with her child into the deep. They were 
kindly received by the Nereides, and became sea- 
divinities under the name of Leucothea and Palsemon. 

1 See Legend of the Argonauts. 




The Sirens would appear 
to have been personifica- 
tions of those numerous 
rocks and unseen dangers, 
which abound on the S.W. 
coast of Italy. They were 
sea-nymphs, with the upper 
part of the body that of 
a maiden and the lows? that 
of a sea-bird, having wings 
attached to their shoulders, 
and were endowed with such 

wonderful voices, that their sweet songs are said to have 

lured mariners to destruction. 


Ares, the son of Zeus and Hera, was the god of war, 
who gloried in strife for its own sake; he loved the 
tumult and havoc of the battlefield, and delighted in 
slaughter and extermination; in fact he presents no 
benevolent aspect which could possibly react favourably 
upon human life. 

Epic poets, in particular, represent the god of battles as 
a wild ungovernable warrior, who passes through the 
armies like a whirlwind, hurling to the ground the brave 
and cowardly alike; destroying chariots and helmets, and 
triumphing over the terrible desolation which he produces. 

In all the myths concerning Ares, his sister Athene 
ever appears in opposition to him, endeavouring by every 
means in her power to defeat his bloodthirsty designs. 
Thus she assists the divine hero Diomedes at the siege 
of Troy, to overcome Ares in battle, and so well does he 
profit by her timely aid, that he succeeds in wounding 
the sanguinary war-god, who makes his exit from the 
field, roaring like ten thousand bulls. 

J.RKS (MARS). 113 

Ares appears to have been an object of aversion to 
all the gods of Olympus, Aphrodite alone excepted. As 
the son of Hera, he had inherited from his mother the 
strongest feelings of independence and contradiction, and 
as he took delight in upsetting that peaceful course of 
state-life Avhich it was pre-eminently the care of Zeus to 
establish, he was naturally disliked and even hated by 

When wounded by Diomedes, as above related, he com- 
plains to his father, but receives no sympathy from the 
otherwise kindly and beneficent ruler of Olympus, who 
thus angrily addresses him: "Do not trouble me with 
thy complaints, thou who art of all the gods of Olympus 
most hateful to me, for thou delightest in nought save 
war and strife. The very spirit of thy mother lives in 
thee, and wert thou not my son, long ago wouldst thou 
have lain deeper down in the bowels of the earth than 
the son of Uranus." 

Ares, upon one occasion, incurred the anger of Poseidon 
by slaying his son Halirrhothios, who had insulted Al- 
cippe, the daughter of the war-god. For this deed, Posei- 
don summoned Ares to appear before the tribunal of 
the Olympic gods, which was held upon a hill in Athens. 
Ares was acquitted, and this event is supposed to have 
given rise to the name Areopagus (or Hill of Ares), 
which afterwards became so famous as a court of justice. 
In the Gigantomachia, Ares was defeated by the Aloidse, 
the two giant-sons of Poseidon, who put him in chains, 
and kept him in prison for thirteen months. 

Ares is represented as a man of youthful appearance; 
his tall muscular form combines great strength with won- 
derful agility. In his right hand he bears a sword or a 
mighty lance, while on the left arm he carries his round 
shield (see next page). His demoniacal surroundings are 
Terror and Fear; 1 Enyo, the goddess of the war-cry; 
Keidomos, the demon of the noise of battles; and Eris 
(Contention), his twin-sister and companion, who always 

1 His two sons Deimos and Phobos. 
(73) H 



precedes his chariot when he rushes to the fight, the latter 
being evidently a simile of the poets to express the fact 

that war follows con- 

Eris is represented 
as a woman of florid 
complexion, with dis- 
hevelled hair, and her 
whole appearance angry 
and menacing. In one 
hand she brandishes a 
poniard and a hissing 
adder, whilst in the 
other she carries a burn- 
ing torch. Her dress is 
torn and disorderly, and 
her hair intertwined 
with venomous snakes. 
This divinity was never 
invoked by mortals, ex- 
cept when they desired 
her assistance for the accomplishment of evil p 


The Eoman divinity most closely resembling the Greek 
Ares, and identified with him, was called Mars, Mamers, 
and Marspiter or Father Mars. 

The earliest Italian tribes, who were mostly engaged 
in the pursuit of husbandry, regarded this deity more 
especially as the god of spring, who vanquished the 
powers of winter, and encouraged the peaceful arts of 
agriculture. But with the Romans, who were an essen- 
tially warlike nation, Mars gradually loses his peaceful 
character, and, as god of war, attains, after Jupiter, the 
highest position among the Olympic gods. The Romans 
looked upon him as their special protector, and declared 
him to have been the father of Romulus and Remus, the 
founders of their city. But although he was especially 

MARS. 115 

worshipped in Rome as god of war, he still continued to 
preside over agriculture, and was also the protecting deity 
who watched over the welfare of the state. 

As the god who strode with warlike step to the battle- 
field, he was called Gradivus (from gradus, a step), it 
being popularly believed by the Romans that he himself 
marched before them to battle, and acted as their invisible 
protector. As the presiding deity over agriculture, he 
was styled Sylvanus, whilst in his character as guardian 
of the state, he bore the name of Quirinus. 1 

The priests of Mars were twelve in number, and were 
called Salii, or the dancers, from the fact that sacred 
dances, in full armour, formed an important item in their 
peculiar ceremonial. This religious order, the members 
of which were always chosen from the noblest families in 
Rome, was first instituted by Numa Pompilius, who in- 
trusted to their special charge the Anciliae, or sacred 
shields. It is said that one morning, when Numa was 
imploring the protection of Jupiter for the newly-founded 
city of Rome, the god of heaven, as though in answer to 
his prayer, sent down an oblong brazen shield, and, as it 
fell at the feet of the king, a voice was heard announcing 
that on its preservation depended the future safety and 
prosperity of Rome. In order, therefore, to lessen the 
chances of this sacred treasure being abstracted, Numa 
caused eleven more to be made exactly like it, which 
were then given into the care of the Salii. 

The assistance and protection of the god of war was 
always solemnly invoked before the departure of a Roman 
army for the field of battle, and any reverses of fortune 
were invariably ascribed to his anger, which vras accor- 
dingly propitiated by means of extraordinary sin-offerings 
and prayers. 

In Rome a field, called the Campus Martius, was dedi- 
cated to Mars. It was a large, open space, in which 
armies were collected and reviewed, general assemblies of 

1 Romulus was deified by the Romans after death, and was wor- 
shipped by them under the name of Quirinus, an appellation which ha 
shared in common with his father Mars. 


the people held, and the young nobility trained to martial 

The most celebrated and magnificent of the numerous 
temples built by the Romans in honour of this deity was 
the one erected by Augustus in the Forum, to comme- 
morate the overthrow of the murderers of Csesar. 

Of all existing statues of Mars the most renowned is 
that in the Villa Ludovisi at Rome, in which he is repre- 
sented as a powerful, muscular man in the full vigour of 
youth. The attitude is that of thoughtful repose, but 
the short, curly hair, dilated nostrils, and strongly marked 
features leave no doubt as to the force and turbulence of 
his character. At his feet, the sculptor has placed the 
little god of love, who looks up all undaunted at the 
mighty war-god, as though mischievously conscious that 
this unusually quiet mood is attributable to his influence. 

Religious festivals in honour of Mars were generally 
held in the month of March; but he had also a festival 
on the Ides of October, when chariot-races took place, 
after which, the right-hand horse of the team which had 
drawn the victorious chariot, was sacrificed to him. In 
ancient times, human sacrifices, more especially prisoners 
of war, were offered to him; but, at a later period, this 
cruel practice was discontinued. 

The attributes of this divinity are the helmet, shield, 
and spear. The animals consecrated to him were the 
wolf, horse, vulture, and woodpecker. 

Intimately associated with Mars in his character as god 
of war, was a goddess called BELLONA, who was evidently 
the female divinity of battle with one or other of the 
primitive nations of Italy (most probably the Sabines), 
and is usually seen accompanying Mars, whose war-chariot 
she guides. Bellona appears on the battle-field, inspired 
with mad rage, cruelty, and the love of extermination. 
She is in full armour, her hair is dishevelled, and she 
bears a scourge in one hand, and a lance in the other. 

A temple was erected to her on the Campus Martius. 
Before the entrance to this edifice stood a pillar, over 
which a spear was thrown when war was publicly declared. 



Nike, the goddess of victory, was the daughter of the 
Titan Pallas, and of Styx, the presiding nymph of the 
river of that name in the lower world. 

In her statues, Nike somewhat resembles Athene, but 
may easily be recognized by her large, graceful wings and 
flowing drapery, which is negligently fastened on the 
right shoulder, and only partially conceals her lovely 
form. In her left hand, she holds aloft a crown of laurel, 
and in the right, a palm-branch. In ancient sculpture, 
Nike is usually represented in connection with colossal 
statues of Zeus or Pallas-Athene, in which case she is 
life-sized, and stands on a ball, held in the open palm 
of the deity she accompanies. Sometimes she is repre- 
sented engaged in inscribing the victory of a conqueror 
on his shield, her right foot being slightly raised and 
placed on a ball. 

A celebrated temple was erected to this divinity on the 
Acropolis at Athens, which is still to be seen, and is in 
excellent preservation. 


Under the name of Victoria, Nike was highly honoured 
by the Romans, with whom love of conquest was an all- 
absorbing characteristic. There were several sanctuaries 
in Rome dedicated to her, the principal of which was on 
the Capitol, where it was the custom of generals, after 
success had attended their arms, to erect statues of the 
goddess in- commemoration of their victories. The most 
magnificent of these statues, was that raised by Augustus 
after the battle of Actium. A festival was celebrated 
in honour of Nike on the 12th of April 


Hermes was the swift-footed messenger, and trusted 
ambassador of all the gods, and conductor of shades to 
Hades. He presided over the rearing and education of 


the young, and encouraged gymnastic exercises and athletic 
pursuits, for which reason, all gymnasiums and wrestling 
schools throughout Greece were adorned with his statues. 
He is said to have invented the alphabet, and to have 
taught the art of interpreting foreign languages, and his 
versatility, sagacity, and cunning were so extraordinary, 
that Zeus invariably chose him as his attendant, when, 
disguised as a mortal, he journeyed on earth. 

Hermes was worshipped as god of eloquence, most pro- 
bably from the fact that, in his office as ambassador, this 
faculty was indispensable to the successful issue of the 
negotiations with which he was intrusted. He was re- 
garded as the god who granted increase and prosperity 
to flocks and herds, and, on this account, was worshipped 
with special veneration by herdsmen. 

In ancient times, trade was conducted chiefly by means 
of the exchange of cattle. Hermes, therefore, as god of 
herdsmen, came to be regarded as the protector of mer- 
chants, and, as ready wit and adroitness are valuable 
qualities both in buying and selling, hs was 
also looked upon as the patron of artifice 
and cunning. Indeed, so deeply was this 
notion rooted in the minds of the Greek 
people, that he was popularly believed to be 
also god of thieves, and of all persons who 
live by their wits. 

As the patron of commerce, Hermes was 
naturally supposed to be the promoter of in- 
tercourse among nations; hence, he is essen- 
tially the god of travellers, over whose safety 
he presided, and he severely punished those 
who refused assistance to the lost or weary 
wayfarer. He was also guardian of streets 
and roads, and his statues, called Hermse 
(which were pillars of stone surmounted by 
a head of Hermes), were placed at cross-roads, 
and frequently in streets and public squares. 
Being the god of all undertakings in which gain was a 
feature, he was worshipped as the giver of wealth and 


luck, and any unexpected stroke of fortune was 
attributed to his influence. He also presided over the 
game of dice, in which he is said to have been instructed 
by Apollo. 

Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, the eldest and 
most beautiful of the seven Pleiades (daughters of Atlas), 
and was born in a cave of Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, 
As a mere babe, he exhibited an extraordinary faculty 
for cunning and dissimulation; in fact, he was a thief 
from his cradle, for, not many hours after his birth, we 
find him creeping stealthily out of the cave in which he 
was born, in order to steal some oxen belonging to his 
brother Apollo, who was at this time feeding the flocks 
of Admetus. But he had not proceeded very far on his 
expedition before he found a tortoise, which he killed, and, 
stretching seven strings across the empty shell, invented 
a lyre, upon which he at once began to play with exqui- 
site skill. When he had sufficiently amused himself with 
the instrument, he placed it in his cradle, and then resumed 
his journey to Pieria, where the cattle of Admetus were 
grazing. Arriving at sunset at his destination, he suc- 
ceeded in separating fifty oxen from his brother's herd, 
which he now drove before him, taking the precaution to 
cover his feet with sandals made of twigs of myrtle, in 
order to escape detection. But the little rogue was not 
unobserved, for the theft had been witnessed by an old 
shepherd named Battus, who was tending the flocks 
of Neleus, king of Pylos (father of Nestor). Hermes, 
frightened at being discovered, bribed him with the finest 
cow. in the herd not to betray him, and Battus promised 
to keep the secret. But Hermes, astute as he was dis- 
honest, determined to test the shepherd's integrity. 
Feigning to go away, he assumed the form of Admetus, 
and then returning to the spot offered the old man two 
of his best oxen if he would disclose the author of the 
theft. The ruse succeeded, for the avaricious shepherd, 
unable to resist the tempting bait, gave the desired infor- 
mation, upon which Hermes, exerting his divine power, 
changed him into a lump of touchstone, as a punish- 


ment for his treachery and avarice. Hermes now killed 
two of the oxen, which he sacrificed to himself and the 
other gods, concealing the remainder in the cave. He 
then carefully extinguished the fire, and, after throwing 
his twig shoes into the river Alpheus, returned to Cyllene. 
Apollo, by means of his all-seeing power, soon dis- 
covered who it was that had robbed him, and hastening 
to Cyllene, demanded restitution of his property. On 
his complaining to Maia of her son's conduct, she pointed 
to the innocent babe then lying, apparently fast asleep, in 
his cradle, whereupon, Apollo angrily aroused the pre- 
tended sleeper, and charged him with the theft; but the 
child stoutly denied all knowledge of it, and so cleverly 
did he play his part, that he even inquired in the most 
naive manner what sort of animals cows were. Apollo 
threatened to throw him into Tartarus if he would not 
confess the truth, but all to no purpose. At last, he 
seized the babe in his arms, and brought him into the 
presence of his august father, who was seated in the 
council chamber of the gods. Zeus listened to the charge 
made by Apollo, and then sternly desired Hermes to say 
where he had hidden the cattle. The child, who was 
still in swaddling-clothes, looked up bravely into his 
father's face and said, " Now, do I look capable of driving 
away a herd of cattle; I, who was only born yesterday, 
and whose feet are much too soft and tender to tread in 
rough places? Until this moment, I lay in sweet sleep 
on my mother's bosom, and have never even crossed the 
threshold of our dwelling. You know well that I am 
not guilty; but, if you wish, I will affirm it by the 
most solemn oaths." As the child stood before him, 
looking the picture of innocence, Zeus could not refrain 
from smiling at his cleverness and cunning, but, being 
perfectly aware of his guilt, he commanded him to 
conduct Apollo to the cave where he had concealed the 
herd, and Hermes, seeing that further subterfuge was 
useless, unhesitatingly obeyed. But when the divine 
shepherd was about to drive his cattle back into Pieria, 
Hermes, as though by chance, touched the chords of his 


lyre. Hitherto Apollo had heard nothing but the music 
of his own three-stringed lyre and the syrinx, or Pan's 
pipe, and, as he listened entranced to the delightful 
strains of this new instrument, his longing to possess it 
became so great, that he gladly offered the oxen in ex- 
change, promising at the same time, to give Hermes full 
dominion over flocks and herds, as well as over horses, 
and all the wild animals of the woods and forests. The 
offer was accepted, and, a reconciliation being thus effected 
between the brothers, Hermes became henceforth god of 
herdsmen, whilst Apollo devoted himself enthusiastically 
to the art of music. 

They, now proceeded together to Olympus, where 
Apollo introduced Hermes as his chosen friend and com- 
panion, and, having made him swear by the Styx, that he 
would never steal his lyre or bow, nor invade his sanctuary 
at Delphi, he presented him with the Caduceus, or golden 
wand. This wand was surmounted by wings, 
and on presenting it to Hermes, Apollo in- 
formed him that it possessed the faculty of 
uniting in love, all beings divided by hate. 
Wishing to prov6 the truth of this assertion, 
Hermes threw it down between two snakes 
which were fighting, whereupon the angry com- 
batants clasped each other in a loving embrace, 
and curling round the staff, remained ever after 
permanently attached to it. The wand itself 
typified power; the serpents, w T isdom; and the 
wings, despatch all qualities characteristic of 
a trustworthy ambassador. 

The young god was now presented by his father with 
a winged silver cap (Petasus), and also with silver wings 
for his feet (Talaria), and was forthwith appointed herald 
of the gods, and conductor of shades to Hades, which 
office had hitherto been filled by Aides. 

As messenger of the gods, Ave find him employed on 
all occasions requiring special skill, tact, or despatch. 
Thus he conducts Hera, Athene, and Aphrodite to Paris, 
leads Priam to Achilles to demand the body of Hector, 


binds Prometheus to Mount Caucasus, secures Ixion to 
the eternally revolving wheel, destroys Argus, the 
hundred-eyed guardian of lo, &c. &c. 

As conductor of shades, Hermes was always invoked 
by the dying to grant them a safe and speedy passage 
across the Styx. He also possessed the power of bringing 
back departed spirits to the upper world, and was, there- 
fore, the mediator between the living and the dead. 

The poets relate many amusing stories of the youthful 
tricks played by this mischief-loving god upon the other 
immortals. For instance, he had the audacity to extract 
the Medusa's head from the shield of Athene, which he 
playfully attached to the back of Hephaestus; he also 
stole the girdle of Aphrodite; deprived Artemis of her 
arrows, and Aros of his spear, but these acts were always 
performed with such graceful dexterity, combined with 
such perfect good humour, that even the gods and god- 
desses he thus provoked, were fain to pardon him, and he 
became a universal favourite with them all. 

It is said that Hermes was one day flying over Athens, 
when, looking down into the city, he beheld a number of 
maidens returning in solemn procession from the temple 
of Pallas- Athene. Foremost among them was Herse, the 
beautiful daughter of king Cecrops, and Hermes was so 
struck with her exceeding loveliness that he determined 
to seek an interview Avith her. He accordingly presented 
himself at the royal palace, and begged her sister Agraulos 
to favour his suit; but, being of an -avaricious turn of 
mind, she refused to do so without the payment of an 
enormous sum of money. It did not take the messenger 
of the gods long to obtain the means of fulfilling this con- 
dition, and he soon returned with a well-filled purse. 
But meanwhile Athene, to punish the cupidity of Agrau- 
los, had caused the demon of envy to take possession of 
her, and the consequence was, that, being unable to con- 
template the happiness of her sister, she sat down before 
the door, and resolutely refused to allow Hermes to enter. 
He tried every persuasion and blandishment in his power, 
but she still remained obstinate. At last, his patience 


being exhausted, he changed her into a mass of black 
stone, and, the obstacle to his Avishes being removed, he 
succeeded in persuading Herse to become his wife. 

In his statues, Hermes is represented as a beardless 
youth, with broad chest and 
graceful but muscular limbs; 
the face is handsome and in- 
telligent, and a genial smile 
of kindly benevolence plays 
round the delicately chiselled 

As messenger of the gods 
he wears the Petasus and 
Talaria, and bears in his 
hand the Caduceus or herald's 

As god of eloquence, he is 
often represented with chains 
of gold hanging from his lips, 
whilst, as the patron of mer- 
chants, he bears a purse in 

his hand. 

The wonderful excavations 

in Olympia, to which allusion has already been made, 
have brought to light an exquisite marble group of 
Hermes and the infant Bacchus, by Praxiteles. In this 
great work of art, Hermes is represented as a young and 
handsome man, who is looking down kindly and affection- 
ately at the child resting on his arm, but unfortunately 
nothing remains of the infant save the right hand, which 
is laid lovingly on the shoulder of his protector. 

The sacrifices to Hermes consisted of incense, honey, 
cakes, pigs, and especially lambs and young goats. As 
god of eloquence, the tongues of animals were sacrificed to 


Mercury was the Eoman god of commerce and gain. 
We find mention of a temple having been erected to him 



near the Circus Maximus as early as B.C. 495; and he 
had also a temple and a sacred fount near the Porta 
Capena. Magic powers were ascribed to the latter, and 
on the festival of Mercury, which took place on the 25th 
of May, it was the custom for merchants to sprinkle 
themselves and their merchandise with this holy water, 
in order to insure large profits from their wares. 

The Fetiales (Roman priests whose duty it was to act 
as guardians of the public faith) refused to recognize the 
identity of Mercury with Hermes, and ordered him to be 
represented with a sacred branch as the emblem of peace, 
instead of the Caduceus. In later times, however, he 
was completely identified with the Greek Hermes. 


Dionysus, also called Bacchus (from bacca, berry), was 
the god of wine, and the personi- 
fication of the blessings of Nature 
in general 

The worship of this divinity, 
which is supposed to have been 
introduced into Greece from 
Asia (in all probability from 
India), first took root in Thrace, 
whence it gradually spread into 
other parts of Greece. 

Dionysus was the son of Zeus 
and Semele, and was snatched 
by Zeus from the devouring 
flames in which his mother 
perished, when he appeared to 
her in all the splendour of his 
divine glory. The motherless 
child was intrusted to the charge 
of Hermes, who conveyed him 
to Semele's sister, Ino. Bu t Hera, 
still implacable in her vengeance, 
visited Athamas, the husband of Ino, with madness, 


and the child's life being no longer safe, he was transferred 
to the fostering care of the nymphs of Mount Nysa. An 
aged satyr named Silenus, the son of Pan, took upon 
himself the office of guardian and preceptor to the young 
god, who, in his turn, became much attached to his kind 
tutor; hence we see Silenus always figuring as one of 
the chief personages in the various expeditions of the 

Dionysus passed an innocent and uneventful childhood, 
roaming through the woods and forests, surrounded by 
nymphs, satyrs, and shepherds. During one of these 
rambles, he found a fruit growing wild, of a most refresh- 
ing and cooling nature. This was the vine, from which 
he subsequently learnt to extract a juice which formed a 
most exhilarating beverage. After his companions had 
partaken freely of it, they felt their whole being pervaded 
by an unwonted sense of pleasurable excitement, and 
gave full vent to their overflowing exuberance, by shout- 
ing, singing, and dancing. Their numbers were soon 
swelled by a crowd, eager to taste a beverage productive 
of such extraordinary results, and anxious to join in the 
worship of a divinity to whom they were indebted for 
this new enjoyment. Dionysus, on his part, seeing how 
agreeably his discovery had aftected his immediate fol- 
lowers, resolved to extend the boon to mankind in general. 
He saw that wine, used in moderation, would enable man 
to enjoy a happier, and more sociable existence, and that, 
under its invigorating influence, the sorrowful might, for 
a while, forget their grief and the sick their pain. He 
accordingly gathered round him his zealous followers, and 
they set forth on their travels, planting the vine and 
teaching its cultivation wherever they went. 

We now behold Dionysus at the head of a large army 
composed of men, women, fauns, and satyrs, all bearing 
in their hands the Thyrsus (a staff entwined with vine- 
branches surmounted by a fir-cone), and clashing together 
cymbals and other musical instruments. Seated in a 
chariot drawn by panthers, and accompanied by thousands 
of enthusiastic followers, Dionysus made a triumphal 


progress through Syria, Egypt, Arabia, India, &c., con- 
quering all before him, founding cities, and establishing 
on every side a more civilized and sociable mode of life 
among the inhabitants of the various countries through 
which he passed. 

When Dionysus returned to Greece from his Eastern 
expedition, he encountered great opposition from Lycur- 
gus, king of Thrace, and Pentheus, king of Thebes. 
The former, highly disapproving of the wild revels which 
attended the worship of the wine-god, drove away his 
attendants, the nymphs of Nysa, from that sacred moun- 
tain, and so effectually intimidated Dionysus, that he 
precipitated himself into the sea, where he was rf ceived 
into the arms of the ocean-nymph, Thetis. But the im- 
pious king bitterly expiated his sacrilegious conduct. 
He was punished with the loss of his reason, and, during 
one of his mad paroxysms, k^ed his own son Dryas, 
whom he mistook for a vine. / 

Pentheus, king of Thebes, seeing his subjects so com- 
pletely infatuated by the riotous worship of this new 
divinity, and fearing the demoralizing effects of the un- 
seemly nocturnal orgies held in honour of the wine-god, 
strictly -prohibited his people from taking any part in the 
wild Bacchanalian revels. Anxious to save him from the 
consequences of his impiety, Dionysus appeared to him 
under the form of a youth in the king's train, and ear- 
nestly warned him to desist from his denunciations. But 
the well-meant admonition failed in its purpose, for Pen- 
theus only became more incensed at this interference, 
and, commanding Dionysus to be cast into prison, caused 
the most cruel preparations to be made for his immediate 
execution. But the god soon freed himself from his 
ignoble confinement, for scarcely had his jailers departed, 
ere the prison-doors opened of themselves, and, bursting 
asunder his iron chains, he escaped to rejoin his devoted 

Meanwhile, the mother of the king and her sisters, in- 
spired with Bacchanalian fury, had repaired to Mount 
Cithseron, in order to join the worshippers of the wine- 


god in those dreadful orgies which were solemnized ex- 
clusively by women, and at which no man was allowed 
to be present. Enraged at finding his commands thus 
openly disregarded by the members of his own family, 
Pentheus resolved to witness for himself the excesses of 
which he had heard such terrible reports, and for this 
purpose, concealed himself behind a tree on Mount Cithse- 
ron; but his hiding-place being discovered, he was 
dragged out by the half-maddened crew of Bacchantes 
and, horrible to relate, he was torn in pieces by his own 
mother Agave and her two sisters. 

An incident which occurred to Dionysus on one of his 
travels has been a favourite subject with the classic poets. 
One day, as some Tyrrhenian pirates approached the 
shores of Greece, they beheld Dionysus, in the form of a 
beautiful youth, attired in radiant garments. Thinking 
to secure a rich prize, they seized him, bound him, and 
conveyed him on board their vessel, resolved to carry 
him with them to Asia and there sell him as a slave. 
But the fetters dropped from his limbs, and the pilot, 
who was the first to perceive the miracle, called upon his 
companions to restore the youth carefully to the spot 
whence they had taken him, assuring them that he was a 
god, and that adverse winds and storms would, in all pro- 
bability, result from their impious conduct. But, refusing 
to part with their prisoner, they set sail for the open sea. 
Suddenly, to the alarm of all on board, the ship stood 
still, masts and sails were covered with clustering vines 
and wreaths of ivy-leaves, streams of fragrant wine inun- 
dated the vessel, and heavenly strains of music were 
heard around. The terrified crew, too late repentant, 
crowded round the pilot for protection, and entreated 
him to steer for the shore. But the hour of retribution 
had arrived. Dionysus assumed the form of a lion, whilst 
beside him appeared a bear, which, with a terrific roar, 
rushed upon the captain and tore him in pieces; the 
sailors, in an agony of terror, leaped overboard, and were 
changed into dolphins. The discreet and pious steersman 
was alone permitted to escape the fate of his companions, 


and to him Dionysus, who had resumed his true form, 
addressed words of kind and affectionate encouragement, 
and announced his name and dignity. They now set 
sail, and Dionysus desired the pilot to land him at the 
island of Naxos, where he found the lovely Ariadne, 
daughter of Minos, king of Crete. She had been aban- 
doned by Theseus on this lonely spot, and, when Diony- 
sus now beheld her, was lying fast asleep on a rock, worn 
out with sorrow and weeping. Wrapt in admiration, the 
god stood gazing at the beautiful vision before him, and 
when she at length unclosed her eyes, he revealed himself 
to her, and, in gentle tones, sought to banish her grief. 
Grateful for his kind sympathy, coming as it did at a 
moment when she had deemed herself forsaken and friend- 
less, she gradually regained liar former serenity, and, 
yielding to his entreaties, consented to become his wife. 

Dionysus, having established his worship in various 
parts of the world, descended to the realm of shades in 
search of his ill-fated mother, whom he conducted to 
Olympus, where, under the name of Thyone, she was 
admitted into the assembly of the immortal gods. 

Among the most noted worshippers of Dionysus was 
Midas, 1 the wealthy king of Phrygia, the same who, as 
already related, gave judgment against Apollo. Upon 
one occasion Silenus, the preceptor and friend of Diony- 
sus, being in an intoxicated condition, strayed into the 
rose-gardens of this monarch, where he was found by 
some of the king's attendants, who bound him with roses 
and conducted him to the presence of their royal master. 
Midas treated the aged satyr with the greatest considera- 
tion, and, after entertaining him hospitably for ten days, 
led him back to Dionysus, who was so grateful for the 
kind attention shown to his old friend, that he offered to 
grant Midas any favour he chose to demand; whereupon 
the avaricious monarch, not content with his boundless 
wealth, and still thirsting for more, desired that every- 
thing he touched might turn to gold. The request was 

1 Midas was the son of Cybele and Gordius, the king who tied the 
celebrated and intricate knot. 


complied with in so literal a sense, that the now wretched 
Midas bitterly repented his folly and cupidity, for, when 
the pangs of hunger assailed him, and he essayed to ap- 
pease his cravings, the food became gold ere he could 
swallow it; as he raised the cup of wine to his parched 
lips, the sparkling draught was changed into the metal he 
had so coveted, and when at length, wearied and faint, 
he stretched his aching frame on his hitherto luxurious 
couch, this also was transformed into the substance which 
had now become the curse of his existence. The despair- 
ing king at last implored the god to take back the fatal 
gift, and Dionysus, pitying his unhappy plight, desired 
him to bathe in the river Pactolus, a small stream in 
Lydia. in order to lose the power which had become 
the bane of his life. Midas joyfully obeying the in- 
junction, was at once freed from the consequences of his 
avaricious demand, and from this time forth the sands of 
the river Pactolus have ever contained grains of gold. 

Representations of Dionysus are of two kinds. Ac- 
cording to the earliest conceptions, he appears as a grave 
and dignified man in the prime of life; his countenance 
is earnest, thoughtful, and benevolent; he wears a full 
beard, and is draped from head to foot in the garb of an 
Eastern monarch. But the sculptors of a later period 
represent him as a youth of singular beauty, though of 
somewhat effeminate appearance; the expression of the 
countenance is gentle and winning; the limbs are supple 
and gracefully moulded; and the hair, which is adorned 
by a wreath of vine or ivy leaves, falls over the shoulders 
in long curls. In one hand he bears the Thyrsus, and in 
the other a drinking-cup with two handles, these being his 
distinguishing attributes. He is often represented riding 
on a panther, or seated in a chariot drawn by lions, tigers, 
panthers, or lynxes. 

Being the god of wine, which is calculated to promote 
sociability, he rarely appears alone, but is usually accom- 
panied by Bacchantes, satyrs, and mountain-nymphs. 

The finest modern representation of Ariadne is that by 
Danneker, at Frankfort-on-the-Maine. In this statue she 

(78) I 


appears riding on a panther; the beautiful upturned face 
inclines slightly over the left shoulder; the features are 
regular and finely cut, and a wreath of ivy-leaves encircles 
the well-shaped head. With her right hand she grace- 
fully clasps the folds of drapery which fall away negli- 
gently from her rounded form, whilst the other rests 
lightly and caressingly on the head of the animal. 

Dionysus was regarded as the patron of the drama, 
and at the state festival of the Dionysia, which was cele- 
brated with great pomp in the city of Athens, dramatic 
entertainments took place in his honour, for which all 
the renowned Greek dramatists of antiquity composed 
their immortal tragedies and comedies. 

He was also a prophetic divinity, and possessed oracles, 
the principal of which was that on Mount Ehodope in 

The tiger, lynx, panther, dolphin, serpent, and ass 
were sacred to this god. His favourite plants were the 
vine, ivy, laurel, and asphodel. His sacrifices consisted 
of goats, probably on account of their being destructive 
to vineyards. 


The Romans had a divinity called Liber who presided 
over vegetation, and was, on this account, identified with 
the Greek Dionysus, and worshipped under the name of 

The festival of Liber, called the Liberalia, was cele- 
brated on the 17th of March. 


Aides, Aido_eus, or Hades, was the son of Cronus and 
Rhea, and the youngest brother of Zeus and Poseidon. 
He was the ruler of that subterranean region called Ere- 
bus, which was inhabited by the shades or spirits of the 
dead, and also by those dethroned and exiled deities who 
had been vanquished by Zeus and his allies. Aides, the 
grim and gloomy monarch of this lower world, was the 


successor of Erebus, that ancient primeval divinity after 
whom these realms were called 

The early Greeks regarded Aides in the light of their 
greatest foe, and Homer tells us that he was "of all the 
gods the most detested," being in their eyes the grim 
robber who stole from them their nearest and dearest, 
and eventually deprived each of them of their share in 
terrestrial existence. His name was so feared that it was 
never mentioned by mortals, who, when they invoked 
him, struck the earth with their hands, and in sacrificing 
to him turned away their faces. 

The belief of the people with regard to a future state 
was, in the Homeric age, a sad and cheerless one. It was 
supposed that when a mortal ceased to exist, his spirit 
tenanted the shadowy outline of the human form it had 
quitted. These shadows, or shades as they were called, 
were driven by Aides into his dominions, where they 
passed their time, some in brooding over the vicissitudes 
of fortune which they had experienced on earth, others 
in regretting the lost pleasures they had enjoyed in life, 
but all in a condition of semi-consciousness, from which 
the intellect could only be roused to full activity by 
drinking of the blood of the sacrifices offered to their 
shades by living friends, which, for a time, endowed them 
with their former mental vigour. The only beings sup- 
posed to enjoy any happiness in a future state were the 
heroes, whose acts of daring and deeds of prowess had, 
during their life, reflected honour on the land of their 
birth; and even these, according to Homer, pined after 
their career of earthly activity. He tells us that when 
Odysseus visited the lower world at the command of 
Circe, and held communion Avith the shades of the heroes 
of the Trojan war, Achilles assured him that he would 
rather be the poorest day-labourer on earth than reign 
supreme over the realm of shades. 

The early Greek poets offer but scanty allusions to 
Erebus. Homer appears purposely to envelop these 
realms in vagueness and mystery, in order, probably, to 
heighten the sensation of awe inseparably connected with 


the lower world. In the Odyssey he describes the en- 
trance to Erebus as being beyond the furthermost edge of 
Oceanus, in the far west, where dwelt the Cimmerians, 
enveloped in eternal mists and darkness. 

In later times, however, in consequence of extended 
intercourse with foreign nations, new ideas became gradu- 
ally introduced, and we find Egyptian theories with re- 
gard to a future state taking root in Greece, which be- 
come eventually the religious belief of the whole nation. 
It is now that the poets and philosophers, and more espe- 
cially the teachers of the Eleusinian Mysteries, begin to 
inculcate the doctrine of the future reward and punish- 
ment of good and bad deeds. Aides, who had hitherto 
been regarded as the dread enemy of mankind, who de- 
lights in his grim office, and keeps the shades imprisoned 
in his dominions after withdrawing them from the joys 
of existence, now receives them with hospitality and 
friendship, and Hermes replaces him as conductor of 
shades to Hades. Under this new aspect Aides usurps 
the functions of a totally different divinity called Plutus 
(the god of riches), and is henceforth regarded as the giver 
of wealth to mankind, in the shape of those precious 
metals which lie concealed in the bowels of the earth. 

The later poets mention various entrances to Erebus, 
which were for the most part caves and fissures. There 
was one in the mountain of Taenarum, another in Thes- 
protia, and a third, the most celebrated of all, in Italy, 
near the pestiferous Lake Avernus, over which it is said 
no bird could fly, so noxious were its exhalations. 

In the dominions of Aides there were four great rivers, 
three of which had to be crossed by all the shades. These 
three were Acheron (sorrow), Cocytus (lamentation), and 
Styx (intense darkness), the sacred stream which flowed 
nine times round these realms. 

The shades were ferried over the Styx by the grim, 
unshaven old boatman Charon, who, however, only took 
those whose bodies had received funereal rites on earth, and 
who had brought with them his indispensable toll, which 
was a small coin or obolus, usually placed under the 


tongue of a dead person for this purpose. If these con- 
ditions had not been fulfilled, the unhappy shades were 
ieft behind to wander up and down the banks for a 
hundred years as restless spirits. 

On the opposite bank of the Styx was the tribunal of 
Minos, the supreme judge, before whom all shades had 
to appear, and who, after hearing full confession of their 
actions whilst on earth, pronounced the sentence of hap- 
piness or misery to which their deeds had entitled them. 
This tribunal was guarded by the terrible triple-headed 
dog Cerberus, who, with his three necks bristling with 
snakes, lay at full length on the ground; a formidable 
sentinel, who permitted all shades to enter, but none to 

The happy spirits, destined to enjoy the delights of 
Elysium, passed out on the right, and proceeded to the 
golden palace where Aides and Persephone held their 
royal court, from whom they received a kindly greet- 
ing, ere they set out for the Elysian Fields which lay be- 
yond. 1 This blissful region was replete with all that 
could charm the senses or please the imagination; the air 
was balmy and fragrant, rippling brooks flowed peacefully 
through the smiling meadows, which glowed with the 
varied hues of a thousand flowers, whilst the groves re- 
sounded with the joyous songs of birds. The occupations 
and amusements of the happy shades were of the same 
nature as those which they had delighted in whilst on earth. 
Here the warrior found his horses, chariots, and arms, the 
musician his lyre, and the hunter his quiver and bow. 

In a secluded vale of Elysium there flow r ed a gentle, 
silent stream, called Lethe (oblivion), whose waters had 
the effect of dispelling care, and producing utter forgetful- 
ness of former events. According to the Pythagorean 
doctrine of the transmigration of souls, it was supposed 
that after the shades had inhabited Elysium for a thousand 
years they were destined to animate other bodies on 

1 The shades of those mortals whose lives had neither been distin- 
guished by virtue nor vice, were condemned to a monotonous, joyless 
existence in the Asphodel meadows of Hades. 


earth, and before leaving Elysium they drank of the 
river Lethe, in order that they might enter upon their 
new career without any remembrance of the past. 

The guilty souls, after leaving the presence of Minos, 
were conducted to the great judgment-hall of Hades, 
whose massive walls of solid adamant were surrounded 
by the river Phlegethon, the Avaves of which rolled flames 
of fire, and lit up, with their lurid glare, these awful 
realms. In the interior sat the dread judge Rhadaman- 
thus, who declared to each comer the precise torments 
which awaited him in Tartarus. The wretched sinners 
were then seized by the Furies, who scourged them with 
their whips, and dragged them along to the great gate, 
which closed the opening to Tartarus, into whose awful 
depths they were hurled, to suffer endless torture. 

Tartarus was a vast and gloomy expanse, as far below 
Hades as the earth is distant from the skies. There the 
Titans, fallen from their high estate, dragged out a dreary 
and monotonous existence; there also were Otus and Ephi- 
altes, those giant sons of Poseidon, who, with impious 
hands, had attempted to scale Olympus and dethrone its 
mighty ruler. Principal among the sufferers in this abode 
of gloom were Tityus, Tantalus, Sisyphus, Ixion, and the 

TITYUS, one of the earth-born giants, had insulted 
Hera on her way to Peitho, for which offence Zeus flung 
him into Tartarus, where he suffered dreadful torture, 
inflicted by two vultures, which perpetually gnawed his 

TANTALUS was a wise and wealthy king of Lydia, 
with whom the gods themselves condescended to associ- 
ate; he was even permitted to sit at table with Zeus, who 
delighted in his conversation, and listened with interest 
to the wisdom of his observations. Tantalus, however, 
elated at these distinguished marks of divine favour, pre- 
sumed upon his position, and used unbecoming language 
to Zeus himself; he also stole nectar and ambrosia from 
the table of the gods, with which he regaled his friends; 
but his greatest crime consisted in killing his own son, 


Pelops, and serving him up at one of the banquets to the 
gods, in order to test their omniscience. For these hein- 
ous offences he was condemned by Zeus to eternal punish- 
ment in Tartarus, where, tortured with an ever-burning 
thirst, he was plunged up to the chin in water, which, as 
he stooped to drink, always receded from his parched lips. 
Tall trtss, with spreading branches laden with delicious 
fruits, hung temptingly over his head; but no sooner did 
he raise himself to grasp them, than a wind arose, and 
carried them beyond his reach. 

SISYPHUS was a great tyrant who, according to some 
accounts, barbarously murdered all travellers who came 
into his dominions, by hurling upon them enormous 
pieces of rock In punishment for his crimes he was con- 
demned to roll incessantly a huge block of stone up 
a steep hill, which, as soon as it reached the summit, 
always rolled back again to the plain below. ' 

IXION was a king of Thessaly to whom Zeus accorded 
the privilege of joining the festive banquets of the gods; 
but, taking advantage of his exalted position, he pre- 
sumed to aspire to the favour of Hera, which so greatly 
incensed Zeus, that he struck him with his thunderbolts, 
and commanded Hermes to throw him into Tartarus, and 
bind him to an ever-revolving wheel. 

The DA1MDES were the fifty daughters of Danaus, 
king of Argos, who had married their fifty cousins, the 
sons of ^Egyptus. By the command of their father, who 
had been warned by an oracle that his son-in-law would 
cause his death, they all killed their husbands in one 
night, Hypermnestra alone excepted. Their punish- 
ment in the lower world was to fill with water a vessel 
full of holes, a never-ending and useless task 

Aides is usually represented as a man of mature years 
and stern majestic mien, bearing a striking resemblance 
to his brother Zeus; but the gloomy and inexorable ex- 
pression of the face contrasts forcibly with that peculiar 
benignity which so characterizes the countenance of the 
mighty ruler of heaven. He is seated on a throne of 
ebony, with his queen, the grave and sad Persephone, 



beside him, and wears a full beard, and long flowing black 
hair, which hangs straight down over his forehead; in his 
hand he either bears a 
two-pronged fork or the 
keys of the lower world, 
and at his feet sits Cer- 
berus. He is sometimes 
seen in a chariot of gold, 
drawn by four black horses, 
and wearing on his head 
a helmet made for him by 
the Cyclops, which ren- 
dered the wearer invisible. 
This helmet he frequently 
lent to mortals and im- 

Aides, who was univer- 
sally worshipped through- 
out Greece, had templer 
erected to his honour in Elis, Olympia, and also at Athens. 
His sacrifices, which took place at night, consisted of 
black sheep, and the blood, instead of being sprinkled on 
the altars or received in vessels, as at other sacrifices, was 
permitted to run down into a trench, dug for this purpose. 
The officiating priests wore black robes, and were crowned 
with cypress. 

The narcissus, maiden-hair, and cypress were sacred to 
this divinity. 


Before the introduction into Eome of the religion and 
literature of Greece, the Romans had no belief in a realm 
of future happiness or misery, corresponding to the Greek 
Hades; hence they had no god of the lower world identi- 
cal with Aides. They supposed that there was, in the 
centre of the earth, a vast, gloomy, and impenetrably dark 
cavity called Orcus, which formed a place of eternal rest 
for the dead. But with the introduction of Greek myth- 
ology, the Koman Orcus became the Greek Hades, and 


all the Greek notions with regard to a future state now 
obtained with the Eomans, who worshipped Ai'des under 
the name of Pluto, his other appellations being Dis (from 
dives, rich) and Orcus from the dominions over which he 
ruled. In Rome there were no temples erected to this 


Plutus, the son of Demeter and a mortal called lasion, 
was the god of wealth, and is represented as being lame 
when he makes his appearance, and winged when he 
takes his departure. He was supposed to be both blind 
and foolish, because he bestows his gifts without discrim- 
ination, and frequently upon the most unworthy objects. 

Plutus was believed to have his abode in the bowels 
of the earth, which was probably the reason why, in 
later times, Aides became confounded with this divinity. 


The Harpies, who, like the Furies, were employed by 
the gods as instruments for the punishment of the guilty, 
were three female divinities, 
daughters of Thaumas and 
Electra, called Aello, Ocypete, 
and Celamo. 

They were represented with 
the head of a fair-haired 
maiden and the body of a 
vulture, and were perpetu- 
ally devoured by the pangs 
of insatiable hunger, which 
caused them to torment their victims by robbing them 
of their food; this they either devoured with great glut- 


tony, or defiled in such a manner as to render it unfit to 
be eaten. 

Their wonderfully rapid flight far surpassed that of 
birds, or even of the winds themselves. If any mortal 
suddenly and unaccountably disappeared, the Harpies 
were believed to have carried him off. Thus they were 
supposed to have borne away the daughters of King Pan- 
dareos to act as servants to the Erinyes. 

The Harpies would appear to be personifications of 
sudden tempests, which, with ruthless violence, sweep 
over whole districts, carrying off or injuring all before 


The Erinyes or Furies were female divinities who per- 
sonified the torturing pangs of an evil conscience, and the 
remorse which inevitably follows wrong-doing. 

Their names were Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone, and 
their origin was variously accounted for. According to 
Hesiod, they sprang from the blood of Uranus, when 
wounded by Cronus, and were hence supposed to be the 
embodiment of all the terrible imprecations, which the 
defeated deity called down upon the head of his rebellious 
son. According to other accounts they were the daugh- 
ters of Night. 

Their place of abode was the lower world, where they 
were employed by Aides and Persephone to chastise and 
torment those shades who, during their earthly career, 
had committed crimes, and had not been reconciled to 
the gods before descending to Hades. 

But their sphere of action was not confined to the 
realm of shades, for they appeared upon earth as the 
avenging deities who relentlessly pursued and punished 
murderers, perjurers, those who had failed in duty 
to their parents, hi hospitality to strangers, or in the 
respect due to old age. Nothing escaped the piercing 
glance of these terrible divinities, from whom flight was 
unavailing, for no corner of the earth was so remote as 


to be beyond their reach, nor did any mortal dare to 
offer to their victims an asylum from their persecutions. 

The Furies are frequently represented with wings; 
their bodies are black, blood drips from their eyes, and 
snakes twine in their hair. In their hands they bear 
either a dagger, scourge, torch, or serpent. 

When they pursued Orestes they constantly held up a 
mirror to his horrified gaze, in which he beheld the face 
of his murdered mother. 

These divinities were also called Eumenides, which 
signifies the "well-meaning" or "soothed goddesses;" 
This appellation was given to them because they were so 
feared and dreaded that people dared not call them by 
their proper title, and hoped by this means to propitiate 
their wrath. 

In later times the Furies came to be regarded as salu- 
tary agencies, who, by severely punishing sin, upheld the 
cause of morality and social order, and thus contributed 
to the welfare of mankind. They now lose their awe- 
inspiring aspect, and are represented, more especially in 
Athens, as earnest maidens, dressed, like Artemis, in 
short tunics suitable for the chase, but still retaining, in 
their hands, the wand of office in the form of a snake. 

Their sacrifices consisted of black sheep and a libation 
composed of a mixture of honey and water, called Xeph- 
alia. A celebrated temple was erected to the Eumenides 
at Athens, near the Areopagus. 


The ancients believed that the duration of human exis- 
tence and the destinies of mortals were regulated by 
three sister-goddesses, called Clotho, Lachesis, and Atro- 
pos, who were the daughters of Zeus and Themis. 

The power which they wielded over the fate of man 
was significantly indicated under the figure of a thread, 
which they spun out for the life of each human being 
from his birth to the grave. This occupation they divided 
between them. Clotho wound the flax round the distaff, 


ready for her sister Lachesis, who span out the thread 
of life, which Atropos, with her scissors, relentlessly snapt 
asunder, when the career of an individual was about to 

Homer speaks of one Moira only, the daughter of 
Night, who represents the moral force by which the 
universe is governed, and to whom both mortals and im- 
mortals were forced to submit, Zeus himself being power- 
less to avert her decrees; but in later times this concep- 
tion of one inexorable, all-conquering fate became amplified 
by the poets into that above described, and the Moirae 
are henceforth the special presiding deities over the life 
and death of mortals. 

The Moirae are represented by the poets as stern, in- 
exorable female divinities, aged, hideous, and also lame, 
which is evidently meant to indicate the slow and halt- 
ing march of destiny, which they controlled. Painters 
and sculptors, on the other hand, depicted them as beau- 
tiful maidens of a grave but kindly aspect 

There is a charming representation of Lachesis, which 
depicts her in all the grace of youth and beauty. She is 
sitting spinning, and at her feet lie two masks, one comic, 
the other tragic, as though to convey the idea, that, to a 
divinity of fate, the brightest and saddest scenes of earthly 
existence are alike indifferent, and that she quietly and 
steadily pursues her occupation, regardless of human weal 
or woe. 

When represented at the feet of Aides in the lower 
world they are clad in dark robes; but when they appear 
in Olympus they wear bright garments, bespangled with 
stars, and are seated on radiant thrones, with crowns on 
their heads. 

It was considered the function of the Moirae to indicate 
to the Furies the precise torture which the wicked should 
undergo for their crimes. 

They were regarded as prophetic divinities, and had 
sanctuaries in many parts of Greece. 

The Moirae are mentioned as assisting the Charites to 
conduct Persephone to the upper world at her periodical 


reunion with her mother Demeter. They also appear in 
company with Eileithyia, goddess of birth. 


Nemesis, the daughter of Nyx, represents that power 
which adjusts the balance of human affairs, by awarding 
to each individual the fate which his actions deserve. 
She rewards humble, unacknowledged merit, punishes 
crime, deprives the worthless of undeserved good fortune, 
humiliates the proud and overbearing, and visits all evil 
on the wrong-doer; thus maintaining that proper balance 
of things, which the Greeks recognized as a necessary 
condition of all civilized life. But though Nemesis, in 
her original character, was the distributor of rewards as 
well as punishments, the world was so full of sin, that 
she found but little occupation in her first capacity, and 
hence became finally regarded as the avenging goddess 

We have seen a striking instance of the manner in 
which this divinity punishes the proud and arrogant in 
the history of Niobe. Apollo and Artemis were merely 
the instruments for avenging the insult offered to their 
mother; but it was Nemesis who prompted the deed, and 
presided over its execution. 

Homer makes no mention of Nemesis; it is therefore 
evident that she was a conception of later times, when 
higher views of morality had obtained among the Greek 

Nemesis is represented as a beautiful woman of 
thoughtful and benign aspect and regal bearing; a diadem 
crowns her majestic brow, and she bears in her hand a 
rudder, balance, and cubit; fitting emblems of the man- 
ner in which she guides, weighs, and measures all human 
events. She is also sometimes seen with a wheel, to 
symbolize the rapidity with which she executes justice. 
As the avenger of evil she appears winged, bearing in 
her hand either a scourge or a sword, and seated in a 
chariot drawn by griffins. 


Nemesis is frequently called Adrastia, and also Rham- 
nusia, from Rhamnus in Attica, the chief seat of her 
worship, which contained a celebrated statue of the god- 

Nemesis was worshipped by the Romans, (who invoked 
her on the Capitol), as a divinity who possessed the power 
of averting the pernicious consequences of envy. 


NYX (Nox). 

Nyx, the daughter of Chaos, being the personification 
of Night, was, according to the poetic ideas of the Greeks, 
considered to be the mother of everything mysterious 
and inexplicable, such as death, sleep, dreams, &c. She 
became united to Erebus, and their children were Aether 
and Hemera (Air and Daylight), evidently a simile of 
the poets, to indicate that darkness always precedes light. 

Nyx inhabited a palace in the dark regions of the 
lower world, and is represented as a beautiful woman, 
seated m a chariot, drawn by two black horses. She is 
clothed in dark robes, wears a long veil, and is accom- 
panied by the stars, which follow in her train. 


Thanatos (Death) and his twin-brother Hypnus (Sleep) 
were the children of Nyx. 

Their dwelling was in the realm of shades, and when 
they appear among mortals, Thanatos is feared and hated 
as the enemy of mankind, whose hard heart knows no 
pity, whilst his brother Hypnus is universally loved and 
welcomed as their kindest and most beneficent friend. 

But though the ancients regarded Thanatos as a gloomy 
and mournful divinity, they did not represent him with 
any exterior repulsiveness. On the contrary, he appears 
as a beautiful youth, who holds in his hand an inverted 


torch, emblematical of the light of life being extinguished, 
whilst his disengaged arm is thrown lovingly round the 
shoulder of his brother Hypnus. 

Hypnus is sometimes depicted standing erect with 
closed eyes; at others he is in a recumbent position beside 
his brother Thanatos, and usually bears a poppy-stalk in 
his hand. 

A most interesting description of the abode of Hypnus 
is given by Ovid in his Metamorphoses. He tells us 
how the god of Sleep dwelt in a mountain-cave near the 
realm of the Cimmerians, which the sun never pierced 
with his rays. No sound disturbed the stillness, no song 
of birds, not a branch moved, and no human voice broke 
the profound silence which reigned everywhere. From 
the lowermost rocks of the cave issued the river Lethe, 
and one might almost have supposed that its course was 
arrested, Avere it not for the IOAV, monotonous hum of the 
water, which invited slumber. The entrance was partially 
hidden by numberless white and red poppies, which 
Mother Night had gathered and planted there, and from 
the juice of which she extracts drowsiness, which she 
scatters in liquid drops all over the earth, as soon as 
the sun-god has sunk to rest. In the centre of the cave 
stands a couch of blackest ebony, with a bed of down, 
over which is laid a coverlet of sable hue. Here the god 
himself reposes, surrounded by innumerable forms. 
These are idle dreams, more numerous than the sands of 
the sea. Chief among them is Morpheus, that changeful 
god, who may assume any shape or form he pleases. 
Nor can the god of Sleep resist his own power; for 
though he may rouse himself for a while, he soon suc- 
cumbs to the drowsy influences which surround him. 


Morpheus, the son of Hypnus, was the god of Dreams. 

He is always represented winged, and appears some- 
times as a youth, sometimes as an old man. In his hand 
he bears a cluster of poppies, and as he steps with noise- 


less footsteps over the earth, he gently scatters the seeds 
of this sleep-producing plant over the eyes of weary mor- 

Homer describes the House of Dreams as having two 
gates: one, whence issue all deceptive and flattering 
visions, being formed of ivory; the other, through which 
proceed those dreams which are fulfilled, of horn. 


The Gorgons, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, were the 
three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, and were the per- 
sonification of those benumbing, and, as it were, petrify- 
ing sensations, which result from sudden and extreme 

They were frightful winged monsters, whose bodies 
were covered with scales; hissing, wriggling snakes clus- 
tered round their heads instead of hair; their hands 
were of brass; their teeth resembled the tusks of a wild 
boar; and their whole aspect was so appalling, that they 
are said to have turned into stone all who beheld them. 

These terrible sisters were supposed to dwell in that 
remote and mysterious region in the far West, beyond 
the sacred stream of Oceanus. 

The Gorgons were the servants of Aides, who made 
use of them to terrify and overawe those shades, doomed 
to be kept in a constant state of unrest as a punishment 
for their misdeeds, whilst the Furies, on their part, 
scourged them with their whips and tortured -them 

The most celebrated -of the three sisters was Medusa, 
who alone was mortal. She was originally a golden- 
haired and very beautiful maiden, who, as a priestess of 
Athene, was devoted to a life of celibacy; but, being 
wooed by Poseidon, whom she loved in return, she forgot 
her vows, and became united to him in marriage. For 
this offence she was punished by the goddess in a most 
terrible manner. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair 
which had so charmed her husband, was changed into a 


venomous snake; her once gentle, love-inspiring eyes now 
became blood-shot, furious orbs, which excited fear and 
disgust in the mind of the beholder; whilst her former 
roseate hue and milk-white skin assumed a loathsome 
greenish tinge. Seeing herself thus transformed into so 
repulsive an object, Medusa fled from her home, never 
to return. Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and 
shunned by all the world, she now developed into a 
character, worthy of her outward appearance. In her 
despair she fled to Africa, where, as she passed restlessly 
from place to place, infant -snakes dropped from her hair, 
and thus, according to the belief of the ancients, that 
country became the hotbed of these venomous reptiles. 
With the curse of Athene upon her, she turned into 
stone whomsoever she gazed upon, till at last, after a life 
of nameless misery, deliverance came to her in the shape 
of death, at the hands of Perseus. 

It is well to observe that when the Gorgons are spoken 
of in the singular, it is Medusa who is alluded to. 

Medusa was the mother of Pegasus and Chrysaor, 
father of the three-headed, winged giant Geryones, who 
was slain by Heracles. 

The Graeae, who acted as servants to their sisters the 
Gorgons, were also three in number; their names were 
Pephredo, Enyo, and Dino. 

In their original conception they were merely personi- 
fications of kindly and venerable old age, possessing all 
its benevolent attributes without its natural infirmities. 
They were old and gray from their birth, and so they ever 
remained. In later times, however, they came to be 
regarded as misshapen females, decrepid, and hideously 
ugly, having only one eye, one tooth, and one gray wig 
between them, which they lent to each other, when one 
of them wished to appear before the world. 

When Perseus entered upon his expedition to slay the 
Medusa, he repaired to the abode of the Graeae, in the far 
(73) K 


west, to inquire the way to the Gorgons, and on their re- 
fusing to give any information, he deprived them of their 
one eye, tooth, and wig, and did not restore them until 
he received the necessary directions. 


The Sphinx was an ancient Egyptian divinity, who per- 
sonified wisdom, and the fertility of nature. She is re- 
presented as a lion-couchant, with the head and bust of a 
woman, and wears a peculiar sort of hood, which com- 
pletely envelops her head, and falls down on either side 
of the face. 

Transplanted into Greece, this sublime and mysterious 
Egyptian deity degenerates into an insignificant, and yet 
malignant power, and though she also deals in mysteries, 
they are, as we shall see, of a totally different character, 
and altogether inimical to human life. 

The Sphinx is represented, according to Greek geneal- 
ogy, as the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. 1 Hera, 
being upon one occasion displeased with the Thebans, 
sent them this awful monster, as a punishment for their 
offences. Taking her seat on a rocky eminence near the 
city of Thebe?. commanding a pass wliich the Thebans 
were compelled to traverse in their usual way of business, 
she propounded to all comers a riddle, and if they failed 
to solve it, she tore them in pieces. 

During the reign of King Creon, so many people had 
fallen a sacrifice to this monster, that he determined to 
use every effort to rid the country of so terrible a scourge. 
On consulting the oracle of Delphi, he was informed that 
the only way to destroy the Sphinx was to solve one of 
her riddles, when she would immediately precipitate her- 
self from the rock on which she was seated. 

Creon, accordingly, made a public declaration to the 
effect, that whoever could give the true interpretation, of 
a riddle propounded by the monster, should obtain the 
crown, and the hand of his sister Jocaste. (Edipus offered 

1 Echidna was a bloodthirstj monster, half maiden, half serpent. 


himself as a candidate, and proceeding to the spot where 
she kept guard, received from her the following riddle 
for solution: "What creature goes in the morning on 
four legs, at noon on two, 
and in the evening on three 1 " 
CEdipus replied, that it must 
be man, who during his in- 
fancy creeps on all-fours, in 
his prime walks erect on two 
legs, and when old age has 
enfeebled his powers, calls a 
" staff to his assistance, and 
thus has, as it were, three legs. 

The Sphinx no sooner heard this reply, which was the 
correct solution of her riddle, than she flung herself over 
the precipice, and perished in the abyss below. 

The Greek Sphinx may be recognized by having wings 
and by being of smaller dimensions than the Egyptian 



Tyche personified that peculiar combination of circum- 
stances which we call luck or fortune, and was considered 
to be the source of all unexpected events in human life, 
whether good or evil If a person succeeded in all he 
undertook without possessing any special merit of his 
own, Tyche was supposed to have smiled on his birth. If, 
on the other hand, undeserved ill-luck followed him 
through life, and all his efforts resulted in failure, it was 
ascribed to her adverse influence. 

This goddess of Fortune is variously represented. Some- 
times she is depicted bearing in her hand two rudders, 
with one of which she steers the bark of the fortunate, 
and with the other that of the unfortunate among mortals. 
In later times she appears blindfolded, and stands on a 
ball or wheel, indicative of the fickleness and ever-revolving 


changes of fortune. She frequently bears the sceptre 
and cornucopia 1 or horn of plenty, and is usually winged. 
In her temple at Thebes, she is represented holding the 
infant Plutus in her arms, to symbolize her power over 
riches and prosperity. 

Tyche was worshipped in various parts of Greece, but 
more particularly by the Athenians, who believed in her 
special predilection for their city. 


Tyche was worshipped in Rome under the name of 
Fortuna, and held a position of much greater importance 
among the Eomans than the Greeks. 

In later times Fortuna is never represented either 
winged or standing on a ball; she merely bears the cor- 
nucopia. It is evident, therefore, that she had come to 
be regarded as the goddess of good luck only, who brings 
blessings to man, and not, as with the Greeks, as the per- 
sonification of the fluctuations of fortune. 

In addition to Fortuna, the Romans worshipped Feli- 
citas as the giver of positive good fortune. 


As Ananke, Tyche assumes quite another character, and 
becomes the embodiment of those immutable laws of 
nature, by which certain causes produce certain inevitable 

In a statue of this divinity at Athens she was repre- 
sented with hands of bronze, and surrounded with nails 
and hammers. The hands of bronze probably indicated 
the irresistible power of the inevitable, and the hammer 
and chains the fetters which she forged for man. 

Ananke was worshipped in Rome under the name of 

1 One of the horns of the goat Amalthea, broken off by Zeus, and 
supposed to possess the power of filling itself with whatsoever its owner 



In addition to the Moirae, who presided over the life 
of mortals, there was another divinity, called Ker, ap- 
pointed for each human being at the moment of his birth. 
The Ker belonging to an individual was believed to 
develop with his growth, either for good or evil; and 
when the ultimate fate of a mortal was about to be de- 
cided, his Ker was weighed in the balance, and, according 
to the preponderance of its worth or worthlessness, life 
or death was awarded to the human being in question. It 
becomes evident, therefore, that according to the belief of 
the early Greeks, each individual had it in his power, to 
a certain extent, to shorten or prolong his own existence. 

The Keres, who are frequently mentioned by Homer, 
were the goddesses who delighted in the slaughter of the 


Ate, the daughter of Zeus and Eris, was a divinity 
who delighted in evil. 

Having instigated Hera to deprive Heracles of his 
birthright, her father seized her by the hair of her head, 
and hurled her from Olympus, forbidding her, under the 
most solemn imprecations, ever to return. Henceforth 
she wandered among mankind, sowing dissension, work- 
ing mischief, and luring men to all actions inimical to 
their welfare and happiness. Hence, when a reconcilia- 
tion took place between friends who had quarrelled, Ate 
was blamed as the original cause of disagreement 


Momus, the son of Nyx, was the god of raillery and 
ridicule, who delighted to criticise, with bitter sarcasm, 
the actions of gods and men, and contrived to discover 
in all things some defect or blemish. Thus when Prome- 
theus created the first man, Momus considered his work 
incomplete because there was no aperture in the breast 
through which his inmost thoughts might be read. He 


also found fault with a house built by Athene because, 
being unprovided with the means of locomotion, it could 
never be removed from an unhealthy locality. Aphrodite 
alone defied his criticism, for, to his great chagrin, he 
could find no fault with her perfect form. 1 

In what manner the ancients represented this god is 
unknown. In modern art he is depicted like a king's 
jester, with a fool's cap and bells. 


According to Hesiod's Theogony, Eros, the divine 
spirit of Love, sprang forth from Chaos, while all was 
still in confusion, and by his beneficent power reduced 
to order and harmony the shapeless, conflicting elements, 
which, under his influence, began to assume distinct 
forms. This ancient Eros is represented as a full-grown 
and very beautiful youth, crowned with flowers, and 
leaning on a shepherd's crook. 

In the course of time, this beautiful conception gradu- 
ally faded away, and though occasional mention still 
continues to be made of the Eros of Chaos, he is replaced 
by the son of Aphrodite, the popular, mischief-loving 
little god of Love, so familiar to us all. 

In one of the myths concerning Eros, Aphrodite is de- 
scribed as complaining to Themis, that her son, though 
so beautiful, did not appear to increase in stature; where- 
upon Themis suggested that his small proportions were 
probably attributable to the fact of his being always 
alone, and advised his mother to let him have a com- 
panion. Aphrodite accordingly gave him, as a play- 
fellow, his younger brother Anteros (requited love), and 
soon had the gratification of seeing the little Eros begin 
to grow and thrive; but, curious to relate, this desirable 
result only continued as long as the brothers remained 
together, for the moment they were separated, Eros 
shrank once more to his original size. 

1 According to another account, Momus discovered that Aplirodite 
made a noise when she walked. 



By degrees the conception of Eros became multiplied, 
and we hear of little love-gods (Amors), who appear 
under the most charming and diversified forms. These 
love-gods, Avho afforded to artists inexhaustible subjects 
for the exercise of their imagination, are represented 
as being engaged in various occupations, such as hunting, 
fishing, rowing, driving chariots, and even busying them- 
Ives in mechanical labour. 

Perhaps no myth is more charming and interesting 
that of Eros and Psyche, which is as follows: 
Psyche, the youngest of three 
princesses, was sotranscendently 
beautiful that Aphrodite herself 
became jealous of her, and no 
mortal dared to aspire to the 
honour of her hand. As her 
sisters, who were by no means 
equal to her in attractions, were 
married, and Psyche still re- 
mained unwedded, her father 
consulted the oracle of Delphi, 
and, in obedience to the divine 
response, caused her to be 
dressed as though for the grave, 
and conducted to the edge of a 
yawning precipice. No sooner 

was she alone than she felt herself lifted up, and wafted 
away by the gentle west wind Zephyrus, who transported 
her to a verdant meadow, in the midst of which stood a 
stately palace, surrounded by groves and fountains. 

Here dwelt Eros, the god of Love, in whose arms 
Zephyrus deposited his lovely burden. Eros, himself un- 
seen, wooed her in the softest accents of affection; but 
warned her, as she valued his love, not to endeavour to 
behold his form. For some time Psyche was obedient 
to the injunction of her immortal spouse, and made no 
effort to gratify her natural curiosity; but, unfortu- 
nately, in the midst of her happiness she was seized 
with an unconquerable longing for the society of her sis- 


ters, and, in accordance with her desire, they were con- 
ducted by Zephyras to her fairy-like abode. Filled with 
envy at the sight of her felicity, they poisoned her mind 
against her husband, and telling her that her unseen 
lover was a frightful monster, they gave her a sharp 
dagger, which they persuaded her to use for the purpose 
of delivering herself from his power. 

After the departure of her sisters, Psyche resolved to 
take the first opportunity of following their malicious 
counsel She accordingly rose in the dead of night, and 
taking a lamp in one hand and a dagger in the other, 
stealthily approached the couch where Eros was re- 
posing, when, instead of the frightful monster she had 
expected to see, the beauteous form of the god of Love 
greeted her view. Overcome with surprise and admira- 
tion, Psyche stooped down to gaze more closely on his 
lovely features, when, from the lamp which she held in 
her trembling hand, there fell a drop of burning oil upon the 
shoulder of the sleeping god, who instantly awoke, and see- 
ing Psyche standing over him with the instrument of death 
in her hand, sorrowfully reproached her for her treach- 
erous designs, and, spreading out his wings, flew away. 

In despair at having lost her lover, the unhappy Psyche 
endeavoured to put an end to her existence by throwing 
herself into the nearest river; but instead of closing over 
her, the waters bore her gently to the opposite bank, 
where Pan (the god of shepherds) received her, and con- 
soled her with the hope of becoming eventually recon- 
ciled to her husband. 

Meanwhile her wicked sisters, in expectation of meeting 
with the same good fortune which had befallen Psyche, 
placed themselves on the edge of the rock, but were both 
precipitated into the chasm below. 

Psyche herself, filled with a restless yearning for her 
lost love, wandered all over the world in search of him. 
At length she appealed to Aphrodite to take compassion 
on her; but the goddess of Beauty, still jealous of hsr 
charms, imposed upon her the hardest tasks, the accom- 
plishment of which often appeared impossible. In these 


she was always assisted by invisible, beneficent beings, 
sent to her by Eros, who still loved her, and continued to 
watch over her welfare. 

Psyche had to undergo a long and severe penance 
before she became worthy to regain the happiness, which 
she had so foolishly trifled away. At last Aphrodite 
commanded her to descend into the under world, and ob- 
tain from Persephone a box containing all the charms of 
beauty. Psyche's courage now failed her, for she con- 
cluded that death must of necessity precede her entrance 
into the realm of shades. About to abandon herself to 
despair, she heard a voice which warned her of every 
danger to be avoided on her perilous journey, and in- 
structed her with regard to certain .precautions to be 
observed. These were as follows : not to omit to pro- 
vide herself with the ferryman's toll for Charon, and the 
cake to pacify Cerberus, also to refrain from taking any 
part in the banquets of Aides and Persephone, and, 
above all things, to bring the box of beauty charms un- 
opened to Aphrodite. In conclusion, the voice assured 
her, that compliance with the above conditions would 
insure for her a safe return to the realms of light But, 
alas, Psyche, who had implicitly followed all injunctions, 
could not withstand the temptation of the last condition; 
and, hardly had she quitted the lower world, when, un- 
able to resist the curiosity which devoured her, she raised 
the lid of the box with eager expectation. But, in- 
stead of the wondrous charms of beauty which she ex- 
pected to behold, there issued from the casket a dense 
black vapour, which had the effect of throwing her into 
a death-like sleep, out of which Eros, who had long 
hovered round her unseen, at length awoke her with the 
point of one of his golden arrows. He gently reproached 
her with this second proof of her curiosity and folly, and 
then, having persuaded Aphrodite to be reconciled to his 
beloved, he induced Zeus to admit her among t);e im- 
mortal gods. 

Their reunion was celebrated amidst the rejoicings of 
all the Olympian deities. The Graces shed perfume on 



their path, the Hours sprinkled roses over the sky, 
Apollo added the music of his lyre, and the Muses 
united their voices in a glad chorus of delight. 

This myth would appear to be an allegory, which sig- 
nifies that the soul, before it can 
be reunited to its original divine 
essence, must be purified by the 
chastening sorrows and sufferings 
of its earthly career. 1 

Eros is represented as a lovely 
boy, with rounded limbs, and a 
merry, roguish expression. He has 
golden wings, and a quiver slung 
over his shoulder, which contained 
his magical and unerring arrows; 
in one hand he bears his golden 
bow, and in the other a torch. 

He is also frequently depicted 
riding on a lion, dolphin, or eagle, 
or seated in a chariot drawn by 
stags or wild boars, undoubtedly 
emblematical of the power of love 

as the subduer of all nature, even of the wild animals. 

In Rome, Eros was worshipped under the name of 
Amor or Cupid. 


Hymen or Hymenseus, the son of Apollo and the 
muse Urania, was the god who presided over marriage 
and nuptial solemnities, and was hence invoked at all 
marriage festivities. 

There is a myth concerning this divinity, which tells us 
that Hymen was a beautiful youth of very poor parents, 
who fell in love with a wealthy maiden, so far above him 
in rank, that he dared not cherish the hope of ever be- 
coming united to her. Still he missed no opportunity of 
seeing her, and, upon one occasion, disguised himself as 

1 The word Psyche signifies "butterfly," the emblem of the soul in 
ancient art. 


a girl, and joined a troop of maidens, who, in company 
with his beloved, were proceeding from Athens to 
Eleusis, in order to attend a festival of Demeter. On 
their way thither they were surprised by pirates, who 
carried them off to a desert island, where the ruffians, 
after drinking deeply, fell into a heavy sleep. Hymen, 
seizing the opportunity, slew them all, and then set sail 
for Athens, where he found the parents of the maidens 
in the greatest distress at their unaccountable dis- 
appearance. He comforted them with the assurance 
that their children should be restored to them, provided 
they would promise to give him in marriage the maiden 
he loved. The condition being gladly complied with, he 
at once returned to the island, and brought back the 
maidens in safety to Athens, whereupon he became 
united to the object of his love; and their union proved 
so remarkably happy, that henceforth the name of Hymen 
became synonymous with conjugal felicity. 


Iris, the daughter of Thaumas and Electra, personified 
the rainbow, and was the special attendant and messenger 
of the queen of heaven, whose commands she executed 
with singular tact, intelligence, and swiftness. 

Most primitive nations have regarded the rainbow as a 
bridge of communication between heaven and earth, and 
this is doubtless the reason why Iris, who represented 
that beautiful phenomenon of nature, should have been 
invested by the Greeks with the office of communicating 
between gods and men. 

Iris is usually represented seated behind the chariot 
of Hera, ready to do the bidding of her royal mistress. 
She appears under the form of a slender maiden of great 
beauty, robed in an airy fabric of variegated hues, resem- 
bling mother-of-pearl; her sandals are bright as burnished 
silver, she has golden wmgs, and wherever she appears, a 
radiance of light, and a sweet odour, as of delicate spring 
flowers, pervades the air. 




Hebe was the personification of eternal youth under 
its most attractive and joyous aspect. 

She was the daughter of Zeus and Hera, and though 
of such distinguished rank, is nevertheless represented as 
cup-bearer to the gods; a forcible exemplification of the 
old patriarchal custom, in accordance with which the 
daughters of the house, even when 
of the highest lineage, personally 
assisted in serving the guests. 

Hebe is represented as a comely, 
modest maiden, small, of a beauti- 
fully rounded contour, with nut- 
brown tresses and sparkling eyes. 
She is often depicted pouring out 
nectar from an upraised vessel, or 
bearing in her hand a shallow dish, 
supposed to contain ambrosia, the 
ever youth-renewing food of the 

In consequence of an act of awk- 

wardness, which caused her to slip 

while serving the gods, Hebe was 
deprived of her office, which was henceforth delegated to 
Ganymedes, son of Tros. 

Hebe afterwards became the bride of Heracles, when, 
after his apotheosis, he was received among the immor- 


Juventas was the Roman divinity identified with 
Hebe, whose attributes, however, were regarded by the 
Romans as applying more particularly to the imperishable 
vigour and immortal glory of the state. 

In Rome, several temples were erected in honour oi this 



Ganymedes, the youngest son of Tros, king of Troy, 
was one day drawing water from a well on Mount Ida, 
when he was observed by Zeus, who, struck with his 
wonderful beauty, sent his eagle to transport him to 
Olympus, where he was endowed with immortality, and 
appointed cup-bearer to the gods. 

Ganymedes is represented as a youth of exquisite beauty, 
with short golden locks, delicately chiselled features, 
beaming blue eyes, and pouting lips. ^J) 


Of all the Olympic deities, none occupy a more distin- 
guished position than the Muses, the nine beautiful 
daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. 

In their original signification, they presided merely over 
music, song, and dance; but with the progress of civiliza- 
tion the arts and sciences claimed their special presiding 
divinities, and AVO see these graceful creations, in later 
times, sharing among them various functions, such as 
poetry, astronomy, &c. 

The Muses were honoured alike by mortals and im- 
mortals. In Olympus, where Apollo acted as their leader, 
no banquet or festivity was considered complete without 
their joy-inspiring presence, and on earth no social gather- 
ing was celebrated without libations being poured out to 
them; nor was any task involving intellectual effort ever 
undertaken, without earnestly supplicating their assist- 
ance. They endowed their chosen favourites with know- 
ledge, wisdom, and understanding; they bestowed upon 
the orator the gift of eloquence, inspired the poet with 
his noblest thoughts, and the musician with his sweetest 

Like so many of the Greek divinities, however, the re- 
fined conception of the Muses is somewhat marred by the 
acerbity with which they punished any effort on the part 


of mortals to rival them in their divine powers. An in- 
stance of this is seen in the case of Thamyris, a Thracian 
bard, who presumed to invite them to a trial of skill in 
music. Having vanquished him, they not only afflicted 
him with blindness, but deprived him also of the power 
of song. 

Another example of the manner in which the gods 
punished presumption and vanity is seen in the story of 
the daughters of King Pierus. Proud of the perfection 
to which they had brought their skill in music, they pre- 
sumed to challenge the Muses themselves in the art over 
which they specially presided. The contest took place 
on Mount Helicon, and it is said that when the mortal 
maidens commenced their song, the sky became dark and 
misty, whereas when the Muses raised their heavenly 
voices, all nature seemed to rejoice, and Mount Helicon 
itself moved with exultation. The Pierides were signally 
defeated, and were transformed by the Muses into sing- 
ing birds, as a punishment for having dared to challenge 
comparison with the immortals. 

Undeterred by the above example, the Sirens also 
entered into a similar contest. The songs of the Muses 
were loyal and true, whilst those of the Sirens were the 
false and deceptive strains with which so many unfortu- 
nate mariners had been lured to their death. The Sirens 
were defeated by the Muses, and as a mark of humilia- 
tion, were deprived of the feathers with which their 
bodies were adorned. 

The oldest seat of the worship of the Muses was Pieria 
in Thrace, where they were supposed to have first seen 
the light of day. Pieria is a district on one of the sloping 
declivities of Mount Olympus, whence a number of rivu- 
lets, as they flow towards the plains beneath, produce 
those sweet, soothing sounds, which may possibly have 
suggested this spot as a fitting home for the presiding 
divinities of song. 

They dwelt on the summits of Mounts Helicon, 
Parnassus, and Pindus, and loved to haunt the springs 
and fountains which gushed forth amidst these rocky 



heights, all of which were sacred to them and to poetic 
inspiration. Aganippe and Hippocrene on Mount Heli- 
con, and the Castalian spring on Mount Parnassus, were 
sacred to the Muses. The latter flowed between two 
lofty rocks above the city of 
Delphi, and in ancient times its 
waters were introduced into a 
square stone basin, where they 
were retained for the use of the 
Pytliia and the priests of Apollo. 
The libations to these divini- 
ties consisted of water, milk, 
and honey, but never of wine. 

Their names and functions 
are as follows: 

CALLIOPE, the most hon- 
oured of the Muses, presided 
over heroic song and epic poetry, 
and is represented with a pencil 
in her hand, and a slate upon 
her knee. 

CLIO, the muse of History, holds in her hand a roll of 
parchment, and wears a wreath of laurel. 

MELPOMENE, the muse of Tragedy, bears a tragic 

THALIA, the muse of Comedy, carries in her right 
hand a shepherd's crook, and has a comic mask beside her. 
POLYHYMNIA, the muse of Sacred Hymns, is crowned 
with a wreath of laurel. She is ahvays represented in a 
thoughtful attitude, and entirely enveloped in rich folds 
of drapery. 

TERPSICHORE, the muse of Dance and Roundelay, is 
represented in the act of playing on a seven-stringed lyre. 
URANIA, the muse of Astronomy, stands erect, and 
bears in her left hand a celestial globe. 

EUTERPE, the muse of Harmony, is represented bear- 
ing a musical instrument, usually a flute. 

ERATO, the muse of Love and hymeneal songs, wears 
a wreath of laurel, and is striking the chords of a lyre. -J 





With regard to the origin of the Muses, it is said that 
they were created by Zeus in answer to a request on the 
part of the victorious deities, after the war with the 







Titans, that some t pecial divinities should be called into 
existence, in order to commemorate in song the glorious 
deeds of the Olympian gods. 

(73) L 



Pegasus was a beautiful winged horse who sprang from 
the body of Medusa whe'n she was slain by the hero 
Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danae. Spreading out his 
wings he immediately flew to the top of Mount Olympus, 
where he was received with delight and admiration by all 
the immortals. A place in his palace was assigned to him 
by Zeus, who employed him to carry his thunder and 
lightning. Pegasus permitted none but the gods to mount 
him, except in the case of Bellerophon, whom, at the 
command of Athene, he carried aloft, in order that he 
might slay the Chimaera with his arrows. 

The later poets represent Pegasus as being at the ser- 
vice of the Muses, and for this reason he is more cele- 
brated in modern times than in antiquity. He would 
appear to represent that poetical inspiration, which tends 
to develop man's higher nature, and causes the mind to 
soar heavenwards. The only mention by the ancients of 
Pegasus in connection with the Muses, is the story of his 
having produced with his hoofs, the famous fountain Hip- 

It is said that during their contest with the Pierides, 
the Muses played and sang on the summit of Mount 
Helicon with such extraordinary power and sweetness, 
that heaven and earth stood still to listen, whilst the 
mountain raised itself in joyous ecstasy towards the abode 
of the celestial gods. Poseidon, seeing his special func- 
tion thus interfered with, sent Pegasus to check the bold- 
ness of the mountain, in daring to move without his per- 
mission. When Pegasus reached the summit, he stamped 
the ground with his hodfs, and out gushed the waters of 
Hippocrene, afterwards so renowned as the sacred fount, 
whence the Muses quaffed their richest draughts of in- 


The Hesperides, the daughters of Atlas, dwelt in an 
island in the far west, whence they derived their name. 


They were appointed by Hera to act as guardians to a 
tree bearing golden apples, which had been presented to 
her by Gaea on the occasion of her marriage with Zeus. 

It is said that the Hesperides, being unable to with- 
stand the temptation of tasting the golden fruit confided 
to their care, were deprived of their office, which was 
henceforth delegated to the terrible dragon Ladon, who 
now became the ever-watchful sentinel of these precious 

The names of the Hesperides were Aegle, Arethusa, 
and Hesperia. 


All those gentler attributes which beautify and refine 
human existence were personified by the Greeks under 
the form of three lovely sisters, Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and 
Thalia, the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome (or, accord- 
ing to later writers, of Dionysus and Aphrodite). 

They are represented as beautiful, slender maidens in 
the full bloom of youth, with hands and arms lovingly 
intertwined, and are either undraped, or wear a fleecy, 
transparent garment of an ethereal fabric. 

They portray every gentle emotion of the heart, which 
vents itself in friendship and benevolence, and were be- 
lieved to preside over those qualities which constitute 
grace, modesty, unconscious beauty, gentleness, kindliness, 
innocent joy, purity of mind and body, and eternal 

They not only possessed the most perfect beauty 
themselves, but also conferred this gift upon others. 
All the enjoyments of life were enhanced by their pres- 
ence, and were deemed incomplete without them; and 
wherever joy or pleasure, grace and gaiety reigned, there 
they were supposed to be present. 

Temples and altars were everywhere erected in their 
honour, and people of all ages and of every rank in life 
entreated their favour. Incense was burnt daily upon 
their altars, and at every banquet they were invoked, 


and a libation poured out to them, as they not only 
heightened all enjoyment, but also by their refining 
influence moderated the exciting effects of wine. 

Music, eloquence, poetry, and art, though the direct 
work of the Muses, received at the hands of the Graces 
an additional touch of refinement and beauty; for which 
reason they are always regarded as the friends of the 
Muses, with whom they lived on Mount Olympus. 

Their special function was to act, in conjunction with 
the Seasons, as attendants upon Aphrodite, whom they 
adorned with wreaths of flowers, and she emerges from 
their hands like the Queen of Spring, perfumed with the 
odour of roses and violets, and all sweet-scented blossoms. 

The Graces are frequently seen in attendance on other 
divinities; thus they carry music for Apollo, myrtles 
for Aphrodite, &c., and frequently accompany the Muses, 
Eros, or Dionysus. , // 



Closely allied to the Graces were the Horse, or Seasons, 
who were also represented as three beautiful maidens, 
daughters of Zeus and Themis. Their names were 
Eunomia, Dice, and Irene. 

It may appear strange that these divinities, presiding 
over the seasons, should be but three in number, but tliis 
is quite in accordance with the notions of the ancient 
Greeks, who only recognized spring, summer, and autumn 
as seasons; nature being supposed to be wrapt in death 
or slumber, during that cheerless and unproductive por- 
tion of the year which we call winter. In some parts of 
Greece there were but two Horse, Thallo, goddess of the 
bloom, and Carpo, of the corn and fruit-bearing season. 

The Horae are always regarded as friendly towards 
mankind, and totally devoid of guile or subtlety; they 
are represented as joyous, but gentle maidens, crowned 
with flowers, and holding each other by the hand in 
a round dance. When they are depicted separately as 
personifications of the different seasons, the Hora repre- 



senting spring appears laden with flowers, that of sum- 
mer bears a sheaf of corn, whilst the personification of 
autumn has her hands filled with clusters of grapes and 
other fruits. They also appear in company with the 
Graces in the train of Aphrodite, and are seen with 
Apollo and the Muses. 

They are inseparably connected with all that is good 
and beautiful in nature, and as the regular alternation of 
the seasons, like all her other operations, demands the 
most perfect order and regularity, the HoraB, being the 
daughters of Themis, came to be regarded as the repre- 
sentatives of order, and the just administration of human 
affairs in civilized communities. Each of these graceful 
maidens took upon herself a separate function : Eunomia 
presided more especially over state life, Dice guarded the 
interests of individuals, whilst Irene, the gayest and 
brightest of the three sisters, was the light-hearted com- 
panion of Dionysus. 

The Hora3 were also the deities of the fast-fleeting 
hours, and thus presided over the smaller, as well as the 
larger divisions of time. In this capacity they assist 
every morning in yoking the celestial horses to the 
glorious chariot of the sun, which they again help to un- 
yoke when he sinks to rest. 

In their original conception they were personifications 
of the clouds, and are described as opening and closing 
the gates of heaven, and causing fruits and flowers to 
spring forth, when they pour down upon them their re- 
freshing and life-giving streams. 


The graceful beings called the Nymphs were the pre- 
siding deities of the woods, grottoes, streams, meadows, 

These divinities were supposed to be beautiful maidens 
of fairy-like form, and robed in more or less shadowy 
garments. They were held in the greatest veneration, 
though, being minor divinities, they had no temples 


dedicated to them, but were worshipped in caves or 
grottoes, with libations of milk, honey, oil, &c. 
They may be divided into three distinct cl 
water, mountain, and tree or wood nymphV , 


The worship of water-deities is common to most 
primitive nations. The streams, springs, and fountains 
of a country bear the same relation to it which the blood, 
coursing through the numberless arteries of a human 
being, bears to the body; both represent the living, 
moving, life-awakening element, without which existence 
would be impossible. Hence we find among most nations 
a deep feeling of attachment to the streams and waters 
of their native land, the remembrance of which, when 
absent in foreign climes, is always treasured with peculiar 
fondness. Thus among the early Greeks, each tribe came 
to regard the rivers and springs of its individual state as 
beneficent powers, which brought blessing and prosperity 
to the country. It is probable also that the charm which 
ever accompanies the sound of running water exercised 
its power Over their imagination. They heard with de- 
light the gentle whisper of the fountain, lulling the senses 
with its low, rippling tones; the soft purling of the brook 
as it rushes over the pebbles, or the mighty voice of the 
waterfall as it dashes on in its headlong course; and the 
beings which they pictured to themselves as presiding 
over all these charming sights and sounds of nature, 
corresponded, in their graceful appearance, with the scenes 
with which they were associated. 


The OCEANIDES, or Ocean Nymphs, were the daugh- 
ters of Oceanus and Tethys, and, like most sea divinities, 
were endowed with the gift of prophecy. 

They are personifications of those delicate vapour-like 


exhalations, which, in warm climates, are emitted from 
the surface of the sea, more especially at sunset, and are 
impelled forwards by the evening breeze. They are 
accordingly represented as misty, shadowy beings, with 
graceful swaying forms, and robed in pale blue, gauze- 
like fabrics. 


The NEREIDES were the daughters of Nereus and 
Doris, and were nymphs of the Mediterranean Sea. 

They are similar in appearance to the Oceanides, but 
their beauty is of a less shadowy order, and is more like 
that of mortals. They wear a flowing, pale green robe; 
their liquid eyes resemble, in their clear depths, the lucid 
waters of the sea they inhabit; their hair floats carelessly 
over their shoulders, and assumes the greenish tint of the 
water itself, which, far from deteriorating from their 
beauty, greatly adds to its effect. The Nereides either 
accompany the chariot of the mighty ruler of the sea, or 
follow in his train. 

We are told by the poets that the lonely mariner 
watches the Nereides with silent awe and wondering 
delight, as they rise from their grotto-palaces in the deep, 
and dance, in joyful groups, over the sleeping waves. 
Some, with arms entwined, follow with their move- 
ments the melodies which seem to hover over the sea, 
whilst others scatter liquid gems around, these being 
emblematical of the phosphorescent light, so frequently 
observed at night by the traveller in southern waters. 

The best known of the Nereides were Thetis, the wife 
of Peleus, Amphitrite, the spouse of Poseidon, and 
Galatea, the beloved of Acis. 


The NAIADES were the nymphs of fresh-water springs, 
lakes, brooks, rivers, &c. 

As the trees, plants, and flowers owed their nourish- 
ment to their genial, fostering care, these divinities were 


regarded by the Greeks as special benefactors to man- 
kind. Like all the nymphs, they possessed the gift of 
prophecy, for which reason many of the springs and 
fountains over which they presided were believed to 
inspire mortals who drank of their waters with the power 
of foretelling future events. The Naiades are intimately 
connected in idea with those flowers which are called 
after them Nymph, or water-lilies, whose broad, green 
leaves and yellow cups float upon the surface of the 
water, as though proudly conscious of their own grace 
and beauty. 

We often hear of the Naiades forming alliances with 
mortals, and also of their bein& wooed by the sylvan 
deities of the woods and dales, yj 


The tree nymphs partook of the distinguishing charac- 
teristics of the particular tree to whose life they were 
wedded, and were known collectively by the name of the 

The HAMADRYADES, or oak nymphs, represent in 
their peculiar individuality the quiet, self-reliant power 
which appears to belong essentially to the grand and 
lordly king of the forest. 

The BIRCH NYMPH is a melancholy maiden with 
floating hair, resembling the branches of the pale and 
fragile-looking tree which she inhabits. 

The BEECH NYMPH is strong and sturdy, full of life 
and joyousness, and appears to give promise of faithful 
love and undisturbed repose, whilst her rosy cheeks, deep 
brown eyes, and graceful form bespeak health, vigour, 
and vitality. 

The nymph of the LINDEN TREE is represented as a 
little coy maiden, whose short silver-gray dress reaches 
a little below the knee, and displays to advantage her 
delicately formed limbs. The sweet face, which is partly 
averted, reveals a pair of large blue eyes, which appear to 
look at you with wondering surprise and shy mistrust; 


her pale, golden hair is bound by the faintest streak of 
rose-coloured ribbon. 

The tree nymph, being wedded to the life of the tree 
she inhabited, ceased to exist when it was either felled, 
or so injured as to wither away and die. 



The Napaese were the kind and gentle nymphs of the 
valleys and glens who appear in the train of Artemis. 
They are represented as lovely maidens with short tunics, 
which, reaching only to the knee, do not impede their 
swift and graceful movements in the exercise of the chase. 
Their pale brown tresses are fastened in a knot at the 
back of the head, whence a few stray curls escape over 
their shoulders. The Napsese are shy as the fawns, and 
quite as frolicsome. 

The OREADES, or mountain nymphs, who are the 
principal and constant Companions of Artemis, are tall, 
graceful maidens, attired as huntresses. They are ardent 
followers of the chase, and spare neither the gentle deer 
nor the timid hare, nor indeed any animal they meet 
with in their rapid course. Wherever their wild hunt 
goes the shy Napaeae are represented as hiding behind 
the leaves, whilst their favourites, the fawns, kneel 
tremblingly beside them, looking up beseechingly for 
protection from the wild huntresses; and even the 
bold Satyrs dart away at their approach, and seek safety 
in flight 

There is a myth connected with one of these mountain 
nymphs, the unfortunate Echo. She became enamoured 
of a beautiful youth named Narcissus, son of the river- 
god Cephissus, who, however, failed to return her love, 
which so grieved her that she gradually pined away, be- 
coming a mere shadow of her former self, till, at length, 
nothing remained of her except her voice, Avhich hence- 
forth gave back, with unerring fidelity, every sound that 
was uttered in the hills and dales. Narcissus himself 


also met Avith an unhappy fate, for Aphrodite punished 
him by causing him to fall in love with his own image, 
which he beheld in a neighbouring fountain, whereupon, 
consumed with unrequited love, he wasted away, and was 
changed into the flower which bears his name. 

The LIMONIADES, or meadow nymphs, resemble the 
Naiades, and are usually represented dancing hand in 
hand in a circle. 

The HYADES, who in appearance are somewhat similar 
to the Oceanides, are cloudy divinities, and, from the 
fact of their being invariably accompanied by rain, are 
represented as incessantly weeping. 

The MELIADES were the nymphs who presided over 

Before concluding this subject, attention should be 
drawn to the fact that, in more modern times, this 
beautiful idea of animating all nature in detail reappears 
under the various local traditions extant in different 
countries. Thus do the Oceanides and Nereides live 
again in the mermaids, whose existence is still believed 
in by mariners, whilst the flower and meadow nymphs 
assume the shape of those tiny elves and fairies, who 
were formerly believed to hold their midnight revels in 
every wood and on every common; indeed, even at the 
present day, the Irish peasantry, especially in the west, 
firmly believe in the existence of the fairies, or " good 
people," as they are called. 


According to the oldest accounts, ^Eolus was a king of 
the JEolian Islands, to whom Zeus gave the command of 
the winds, which he kept shut up in a deep cave, and 
which he freed at his pleasure, or at the command of the 

In later times the above belief underwent a change, 
and the winds came to be regarded as distinct divinities, 
whose aspect accorded with the respective winds with 
which they were identified. They were depicted as 

PAN (FAUNUS). 171 

winged youths in full vigour in the act of flying through 
the air. 

The principal winds were: Boreas (the north wind), 
Eurus (the east wind), Zephyrus (the west wind), and 
Notus (the south wind), who were said to be the children 
of Eos and Astrseus. 

There are no myths of interest connected with these 
divinities. Zephyrus was united to Chloris (Flora), the 

foddess of flowers. Of Boreas it is related that while 
ying over the river Ilissus, he beheld on the banks Or- 
eithyia, the charming daughter of Erechtheus, king of 
Athens, whom he carried off to his native Thrace, and 
there made her his bride. Boreas and Oreithyia were the 
parents of Zetes and Calais, afterwards famous in the 
expedition of the Argonauts. 

There was an altar erected at Athens in honour of 
Boreas, in commemoration of his having destroyed the 
Persian fleet sent to attack the Greeks. 

On the Acropolis at Athens there was a celebrated 
octagonal temple, built by Pericles, which was dedicated 
to the winds, and on its sides Avere their various represen- 
tations. The ruins of this temple are still to be seen. 


Pan was the god of fertility, 
and the special patron of shep- 
herds and huntsmen; he pre- 
sided over all rural occupa- 
tions, was chief of the Satyrs, 
and head of all rural divini- 

According to the common 
belief, he was the son of Her- 
mes and a wood nymph, and 
came into the world with horns 
sprouting from his forehead, a 
goat's beard and a crooked 
nose, pointed ears, and the tail 
and feet of a goat, and presented altogether so repulsive 


an appearance that, at the sight of him, his mother fled 
in dismay. 

Hermes, however, took up his curious little offspring, 
wrapt him in a hare skin, and carried him in his arms to 
Olympus. The grotesque form and merry antics of the 
little stranger made him a great favourite with all the 
immortals, especially Dionysus; and they bestowed upon 
him the name of Pan (all), because he had delighted them 

His favourite haunts were grottoes, and his delight was 
to wander in uncontrolled freedom over rocks and moun- 
tains, following his various pursuits, ever cheerful, and 
usually very noisy. He was a great lover of music, sing- 
ing, dancing, and all pursui.s which enhance the pleasures 
of life; and hence, in spite of his repulsive appearance, we 
see him surrounded with nymphs of the forests and dales, 
who love to dance round him to the cheerful music of his 
ipe, the syrinx. The myth concerning the origin of 
'an's pipe is as follows: Pan became enamoured of a 
beautiful nymph, called Syrinx, who, appalled at his ter- 
rible appearance, fled from the pertinacious attentions of 
her unwelcome suitor. He pursued her to the banks of 
the river Ladon, when, seeing his near approach, and feel- 
ing escape impossible, she called on the gods for assist- 
ance, who, in answer to her prayer, transformed her into 
a reed, just as Pan was about to seize her. Whilst the 
love-sick Pan was sighing and lamenting his unfortunate 
fate, the winds gently swayed the reeds, and produced a 
murmuring sound as of one complaining. Charmed with 
the soothing tones, he endeavoured to reproduce them 
himself, and after cutting seven of the reeds of unequal 
length, he joined them together, and succeeded in produc- 
ing the pipe, which he called the syrinx, in memory of his 
lost love. Yj 

Pan was" regarded by shepherds as their most valiant 
protector, who defended their flocks from the attacks of 
wolves. The shepherds of these early times, having no 
penfolds, were in the habit of gathering together their 
flocks in mountain caves, to protect them against the in- 


PAN (FAUXUS). 173 

clemency of the weather, and also to secure them at night 
against the attacks of wild animals; these caves, there- 
fore, which were very numerous in the mountain districts 
of Arcadia, Boeotia, &c., were all consecrated to Pan. 

As it is customary in all tropical climates to repose 
during the heat of the day, Pan is represented as greatly 
enjoying his afternoon sleep in the cool shelter of a tree 
or cave, and also as being highly displeased at any sound 
which disturbed his slumbers, for which reason the shep- 
herds were always particularly careful to keep unbroken 
silence during these hours, whilst they themselves in- 
dulged in a quiet siesta. 

Pan was equally beloved by huntsmen, being himself 
a great lover of the woods, which afforded to his cheer- 
ful and active disposition full scope, and in which he 
loved to range at will. He was regarded as the patron 
of the chase, and the rural sportsmen, returning from an 
unsuccessful day's sport, beat, in token of their displea- 
sure, the wooden image of Pan, which always occupied a 
prominent place in their dwellings. 

All sudden and unaccountable sounds which startle 
travellers in lonely spots, were attributed to Pan, who 
possessed a frightful and most discordant voice ; hence the 
term panic terror, to indicate sudden fear. The Athenians 
ascribed their victory at Marathon to the alarm which he 
created among the Persians by his terrible voice. 

Pan was gifted with the power of prophecy, which he 
is said to have imparted to Apollo, and he possessed a 
well-known and very ancient oracle in Arcadia, in which 
state he was more especially worshipped. 

The artists of later times have somewhat toned down 
the original very unattractive conception of Pan, as above 
described, and merely represent him as a young man, 
hardened by the exposure to all weathers which a rural 
life involves, and bearing in his hand the shepherd's crook 
and syrinx these being his usual attributes whilst small 
horns project from his forehead. He is either undraped, 
or wears merely the light cloak called the chlamys. 

The usual offerings^ to Pan were milk and honey in 


shepherds' bowls. Cows, lambs, and rams were also 
sacrificed to him. 

After the introduction of Pan into the worship of Diony- 
sus, we hear of a number of little Pans (Panisci), who are 
sometimes confounded with the Satyrs. 


The Romans had an old Italian divinity called Faunus, 
who, as the god of shepherds, was identified with 
the Greek Pan, and represented in a similar manner. 

Faunus is frequently called Inuus or the fertilizer, and 
Lupercus or the one who wards off wolves. Like Pan, 
he possessed the gift of prophecy, and was the presiding 
spirit of the woods and fields; he also shared with 
his Greek prototype the faculty of alarming travellers 
in solitary places. Bad dreams and evil apparitions were 
attributed to Faunus, and he was believed to enter houses 
stealthily at night for this purpose. 

Fauna was the wife of Faunus, and participated in his 


The Satyrs were a race of woodland spirits, who evi- 
dently personified the free, wild, and untrammelled life 
of the forest. Their appearance was both grotesque and 
repulsive; they had flat broad noses, pointed ears, and 
little horns sprouting from their foreheads, a rough shaggy 
skin, and small goat's tails. They led a h'fe of pleasure 
and self-indulgence, followed the chase, revelled in every 
description of wild music and dancing, were terrible wine- 
bibbers, and addicted to the deep slumbers which follow 
heavy potations. They were no less dreaded by mortals 
than by the gentle woodland nymphs, who always avoided 
their coarse rough sports. 

The Satyrs were conspicuous figures in the train of 
Dionysus, and, as we have seen, Silenus their chief was 
tutor to the- wine god. The older Satyrs were called 
Silens, and are represented in antique sculpture, as more 
nearly approaching the human form. 


In addition to the ordinary Satyrs, artists delighted in 
depicting little Satyrs, young imps, frolicking about the 
woods in a marvellous variety 
of droll attitudes. These 
little fellows greatly resemble 
their Mends and companions, 
the Panisci. 

In rural districts it was 
customary for the shepherds 
and peasants who attended the 
festivals of Dionysus, to dress 
themselves in the skins of goats 
and other animals, and, under 
this disguise, they permitted 
themselves all kinds of play- 
ful tricks and excesses, to 
which circumstance the con- 
ception of the Satyrs is by some authorities attributed. 

In Rome the old Italian wood-divinities, the FAUXS, 
who had goats' feet and all other characteristics of the 
Satyrs greatly exaggerated, were identified with them. 


Priapus, the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, was re- 
garded as the god of fruitfulness, the protector of flocks, 
sheep, goats, bees, the fruit of the vine, and all garden 

His statues, which were set up in gardens and vine- 
yards, acted not only as objects of worship, but also 
as scarecrows, the appearance of this god being especially 
repulsive and unsightly. These statues were formed of 
wood or stone, and from the hips downwards were 
merely rude columns. They represent him as having 
a red and very ugly face; he bears in his hand a prun- 
ing knife, and his head is crowned with a wreath of vine 
and laurel. He usually carries fruit in his garments or a 
cornucopia in his hand, always, however, retaining his 
singularly revolting aspect. It is said that Hera, wishing 


to punish Aphrodite, sent her this misshapen and unsightly 
son, and that when he was born, his mother was so hor- 
rified at the sight of him, that she ordered him to be ex- 
posed on the mountains, where he was found by some 
shepherds, who, taking pity on him, saved his life. 

This divinity was chiefly worshipped at Lampsacus, his 
birthplace. Asses were sacrificed to him, and he received 
the first-fruits of the fields and gardens, with a libation 
of milk and honey. 

The worship of Priapus was introduced into Rome at 
the same time as that of Aphrodite, and was identified 
with a native Italian divinity named Mutunus. 


Asclepias, the god of the healing art, was the son of 
Apollo and the nymph Coronis. He was educated by the 
noble Centaur Chiron, who instructed him in all know- 
ledge, but more especially in that of the properties of 
herbs. Asclepias searched out the hidden powers of 
plants, and discovered cures for the various diseases 
which afflict the human body. He brought his art to 
such perfection, that he not only succeeded in warding off 
death, but also restored the dead to life. It was popu- 
larly believed that he was materially assisted in his won- 
derful cures by the blood of the Medusa, given to him by 

It is well to observe that the shrines of this divinity, 
which were usually built in healthy places, on hills outside 
the town, or near wells which w^re believed to have heal- 
ing powers, offered at the same time means of cure for 
the sick and suffering, thus combining religious with sani- 
tary influences. It was the custom for the sufferer to 
sleep in the temple, when, if he had been earnest in his 
devotions, Asclepias appeared to him in a dream, and re- 
vealed the means to be employed for the cure of his ma- 
lady. On the walls of these temples were hung tablets, 
inscribed by the different pilgrims with the particulars of 
their maladies, the remedies practised, and the cures 



worked by the god : a custom undoubtedly productive 
of most beneficial results. 

Groves, temples, and altars were dedicated to Ascle- 
pias in many parts of Greece, but Epidaurus, the chief 
seat of his worship, where, indeed, it is said to have 
originated, contained his principal temple, which served 
at the same time as a hospital. 

The statue of Asclepias in the temple at Epidaurus 
was formed of ivory and gold, and represented him as an 
old man with a full beard, leaning on a staff round which 
a serpent is climbing. The serpent was the distinguish- 
ing symbol of this divinity, partly because these reptiles 
were greatly used by the ancients in the cure of diseases, 
and partly also because all the prudence and wisdom of 
the serpent were deemed indispensable to the judicious 

His usual attributes are a staff, 
a bowl, a bunch of herbs, a pine- 
apple, a dog, and a serpent. 

His children inherited, for the 
most part, the distinguished 
talents of their father. Two of 
his sons, Machaon and Podalirius, 
accompanied Agamemnon to the 
Trojan war, in which expedition 
they became renowned, not only 
as military heroes, but also as 
skilful physicians. 

Their sisters, HYGEIA (health), 
and PANACEA (all-healing), had 
temples dedicated to them, and 
received divine honours. The 
function of Hygeia was to maintain the health of the com- 
munity, which great blessing was supposed to be brought 
by her as a direct and beneficent gift from the gods. 


The worship of ^Esculapius was introduced into Rome 
from Epidaurus, whence the statue of the god of healing 
(73) M 


was brought at the time of a great pestilence. Grateful 
for their deliverance from this plague, the Eomans erected 
a temple in his honour, on an island near the mouth of 
the Tiber, 


From the earliest ages Janus was regarded by the 
Eomans with the utmost affection and veneration, as a 
divinity who ranked only second to Jupiter himself, and 
through whom all prayers and petitions were transmitted 
to the other gods. 

He was believed to preside over the beginnings of all 
things, hence it was he who inaugurated the years, 
months, and seasons, and in course of time came to be 
considered as specially protecting the beginnings of all 
human enterprises. The great importance which the 
Eomans attached to an auspicious commencement, as con- 
tributing to the ultimate success of an enterprise, accounts 
for the high estimation in which Janus was held as the 
god of beginnings. 

This divinity would appear to have been the ancient 
sun-god of the Italian tribes, in which capacity he opens 
and closes the gates of heaven every morning and even- 
ing. Hence he was regarded as the door-keeper of 
heaven, and also as the presiding deity over all gates, 
entrances, &c., on earth. 

The fact of his being the god of city gates, which were 
called Jani after him, is ascribed, however, to the follow- 
ing myth: After the abduction of their women by the 
Eomans, the Sabines, in revenge, invaded the Eoman 
state, and were already about to enter the gates of the 
city, when suddenly a hot sulphur spring, which was be- 
lieved to have been sent by Janus for their special preser- 
vation, gushed forth from the earth, and arrested the pro- 
gress of the enemy. 

JANTTS. 179 

In his character as guardian of gates and doors, he was 
also regarded as a protecting deity of the home, for 
which reason little shrines were erected to him over the 
doors of houses, which contained an image of the god, 
having two faces. 

Janus possessed no temples in the ordinary acceptation 
of the word, but all the gates of cities were dedicated to 
him. Close to the Forum of Rome stood the so-called 
temple of Janus, which, however, was merely an arched 
passage, closed by massive gates. This temple was open 
only in time of war, as it was supposed that the god had 
then taken his departure with the Roman army, over 
whose welfare he personally presided. It is worthy of 
notice, as an evidence of the many wars in which the 
Romans were engaged, that the gates of this sanctuary 
were only closed three times during 700 years. 

As the god who ushers in the new year, the first month 
was called after him, and on the 1st of January his most 
important festival was celebrated, on which occasion all 
entrances of public and private buildings were decorated 
with laurel branches and garlands of flowers. 

His sacrifices, consisting of cakes, wine, and barley, 
were offered to him at the beginning of every month; and 
before sacrificing to the other gods his name was always 
invoked, and a libation poured out to him. 

Janus is usually represented with two faces; in his 
special function as door-keeper of heaven he stands erect, 
bearing a key in one hand, and a rod or sceptre in the 

It is supposed that Janus was the most ancient king of 
Italy, who, during his life, governed his subjects with such 
wisdom and moderation that, in gratitude for the benefits 
conferred upon them, his people deified him after death 
and placed him in the foremost rank among their divini- 
ties. We have already seen in the history of Cronus 
that Saturn, who was identified with the Greek Cronus 
(god of time), was the friend and colleague of Janus. 
Anxious to prove his gratitude to his benefactor, Cronus 
endowed him with the knowledge of past and future 


events, which enabled him to adopt the wisest measures 
for the welfare of his subjects, and it is on this account 
that Janus is represented with two faces looking in oppo- 
site directions, the one to the past, the other to the 


was the goddess of flowers, and was regarded as 
a beneficent power, who watched over and protected the 
early blossoms. 

She was held in the highest estimation by the Romans, 
and a festival, called the Floralia, was celebrated in her 
honour from the 28th of April to the 1st of May. This 
festival was a season of universal merriment, in which 
flowers were used profusely in adorning houses, streets, 
&c., and were worn by young girls in their hair. ; y 

Flora, who typified the season of Spring, is generally 
represented as a lovely maiden, garlanded with flowers. 


In opposition to Flora we find an antagonistic divinity, 
called Robigus, a worker of evil, who delighted in the 
destruction of the tender herbs by mildew, and whose 
wrath could only be averted by prayers and sacrifices, 
when he was invoked under the title of Averuncus, or 
the Avertor. 

The festival of Robigus (the Robigalia) was celebrated 
on the 25th of April. 


Pomona was the goddess of orchards and fruit-trees, 
who, according to Ovid, cares not for woods or streams, 
but loves her gardens and the boughs that bear the 
thriving fruit 

Pomona, .who typifies Autumn, is represented as a 
lovely maiden, laden with branches of fruit-trees. 



Vertumnus was the god of garden and field produce. 
He personifies the change of seasons, and that process of 
transformation in nature by means of which the leaf- 
buds become developed into blossoms, and the blossoms 
into fruit. 

The change of seasons is symbolized in a myth which 
represents Vertumnus as metamorphosing himself into a 
variety of different forms in order to gain the affection 
of Pomona, who so loved her vocation that she abjured 
all thoughts of marriage. He first appears to her as a 
ploughman, typifying Spring; then as a reaper, to repre- 
sent Summer; afterwards as a vine-gatherer, to indicate 
Autumn; and finally as a gray-haired old woman, sym- 
bolical of the snows of Winter; but it was not until he 
assumed his true form, that of a beautiful youth, that he 
succeeded in his suit. 

Vertumnus is generally represented crowned with 
wheat-sheaves, and bearing in his hand a cornucopia. 


Pales, a very ancient Italian divinity, is represented 
sometimes as a male, sometimes as a female power. 

As a male divinity he is more particularly the god of 
shepherds and flocks. 

As a female deity, Pales presides over husbandry and 
the fruitfulness of herds. Her festivals, the Palilia, were 
celebrated on the 21st of April, the day on which the, 
city of Rome was founded. During this festival it was 
customary for shepherds to ignite a mass of straw, 
through which they rushed with their flocks, believing 
that this ordeal would purify them from sin. 

The name Palatine, which originally signified a pas- 
toral colony, is derived from this divinity. Her offerings 
were cakes and milk \ s. 




Picus, the son of Saturn and father of Faunus, was a 
woodland divinity, gifted with prophetic powers. 

An ancient myth relates that Picus was a beautiful 
youth, united to a nymph called Canens. The sorceress 
Circe, infatuated by his beauty, endeavoured to secure 
his love, but he rejected her advances, and she, in revenge, 
changed him into a woodpecker, under which form he 
still retained his powers of prophecy. 

Picus is represented as a youth, with a woodpecker 
perched upon his head, which bird became henceforth 
regarded as possessed of the power of prophecy. 


Picumnus and Pilumnus were two household divinities 
of the Romans, who were the special presiding deities of 
new-born infants. 


Silvanus was a woodland divinity, who, like Faunus, 
greatly resembled the Greek Pan. He was the presiding 
deity of plantations and forests, and specially protected 
the boundaries of fields. 

Silvanus is represented as a hale old man, carrying a 
cypress-tree, for, according to Roman mythology, the 
transformation of the youth Cyparissus into the tree 
which bears his name was attributed to him. 

His sacrifices consisted of milk, meat, wine, grapes, 
wheat-ears, and pigs. 


Terminus was the god who presided over all boundaries 
and landmarks. 

He was originally represented by a simple block of 
stone, which in later times became surmounted by a 


head of this divinity. Nuraa Pompilius, the great bene- 
factor of his people, anxious to inculcate respect for the 
rights of property, specially enjoined the erection of these 
blocks of stone, as a durable monument to mark the line 
dividing one property from another. He also caused 
altars to be raised to Terminus, and instituted his festival 
(the Terminalia), which was celebrated on the 23rd of 

Upon one occasion, when Tarquin wished to remove 
the altars of several deities, in order to build a new 
temple, it is said that Terminus and Juventas alone 
objected to being displaced. This obstinate refusal on 
their part was interpreted as a good omen, signifying that 
the city of Rome would never lose her boundaries, and 
would remain ever young and vigorous. 

C N S U S. 

Consus was the god of secret counsel. 

The Romans believed that when an idea developed 
itself spontaneously within the mind of an individual, it 
was Consus who had prompted the suggestion. This 
applied, however, more particularly to plans which 
resulted satisfactorily. 

An altar was erected to this divinity on the Circus 
Maximus, which was kept always covered, except during 
his festival, the Consualia, which was celebrated on the 
18th of August. 


Libitina was the goddess who presided over funerals. 
This divinity was identified with Venus, possibly because 
the ancients considered that the power of love extended 
even to the realms of death. 

Her temple in Rome, which was erected by Servius 
Tullius, contained all the requisites for funerals, and these 
could either be bought or hired there. A register of all 
deaths which occurred in the city of Rome was kept in 


this temple, and in order to ascertain the rate of mor- 
tality, a piece of money was paid by comma/let of Servius 
Tullius, on the demise of each person. \X<^ 


Laverna was the presiding goddess of thieves, and of 
all artifice and fraud. There was an altar erected to her 
near the Porta Lavernalis, which was called after her, and 
she possessed a sacred grove on the Via Salavia. 


Comus was the presiding genius of banquets, festive 
scenes, revelry, and all joyous pleasures and reckless 

He is represented as a young man crowned with 
flowers, his face heated and flushed with wine, leaning 
against a post in a half-sleepy and drunken attitude, 
with a torch falling from his hand. 


The Camenae were prophetic nymphs held in high 
veneration by the ancient Italians. They were four in 
number, the best known of whom are Carmenta and 

Carmenta was celebrated as being the mother of Evan- 
der, who led an Arcadian colony into Italy, and founded 
a town on the river Tiber, Avhich became afterwards in- 
corporated Avith the city of Rome. Evander is said to 
have been the first Avho introduced Greek art and ciAal- 
ization into Italy, and also the Avorship of Greek diAanities. 

A temple was erected to Carmenta on the Capitoline 
Hill, and a festival, called the Carmentalia, Avas celebrated 
in her honour on the llth of January. 

Egeria is said to have initiated Xuma Pompilius in 
the forms of religious Avorship, Avhich he introduced 
among his people. She was regarded as the giver of 


life, and was therefore invoked by Women before the 
birth of their children. 

The Camense are frequently identified by Eoman 
writers with the Muses. 


A comforting and assuring belief existed among the 
Romans, that each individual was accompanied through 
life, from the hour of his birth to that of his death, by 
a protecting spirit, called his genius, who prompted him 
to good and noble deeds, and acted towards him as a 
guardian angel, comforting him in sorrow, and guiding 
him throughout his earthly career. 

In the course of time a second genius was believed to 
exist, of an evil nature, who, as the instigator of all 
Avrong-doing, was ever at war with the beneficent genius; 
and on the issue of the conflict between these antagonistic 
influences, depended the fate of the individual. The 
genii were depicted as winged beings, greatly resembling 
our modern representations of guardian angels. 

Every state, town, or city, (as well as every man), pos- 
sessed its special genius. The sacrifices to the genii 
consisted of Avine, cakes, and incense, which were offered 
to them on birthdays. 

The genius which guided a woman was called, after the 
queen of heaven, Juno. 

Among the Greeks, beings called Daemons were re- 
garded as exercising similar functions to those of the 
Roman genii. They were believed to be the spirits of 
the righteous race which existed in the Golden Age, who 
watched over mankind, carrying their prayers to the 
gods, and the gifts of the gods to them. */ 


The Manes were the spirits of the departed, and were 
of two kinds, viz., Lemures (or Larvae) and Lares. 


The Lemures were those Manes who haunted their 
former abodes on earth as evil spirits, appearing at night 
under awful forms and hideous shapes, greatly to the 
alarm of their friends and relatives. They were so feared 
that a festival, called the Lemuralia, was celebrated in 
order to propitiate them. 

It appears extremely probable that the superstitions 
with regard to ghosts, haunted houses, &c., which exist 
even at the present day, owe their origin to this very 
ancient pagan source. 

The Lares Familiares were a much more pleasing con- 
ception. They were the spirits of the ancestors of each 
family, who exercised after death a protecting power 
over the well-being and prosperity of the family to which 
they had in life belonged. The place of honour beside 
the hearth was occupied by the statue of the Lar of the 
house, who was supposed to have been the founder of 
the family. This statue was the object of profound 
veneration, and was honoured on all occasions by every 
member of the family; a portion of each meal was laid 
before it, and it was believed to take an active part in all 
family affairs and domestic events, whether of a sad or 
joyful nature. Before starting on any expedition the 
master of the house saluted the statue of the Lar, and, 
011 his return, a solemn thanksgiving was offered to this, 
the presiding deity of his hearth and home, in grateful 
acknowledgment of his protection; whereupon the statue 
was crowned with garlands of flowers, these being the 
favourite offerings to the Lares on all occasions of especial 
family rejoicing. 

The first act of a bride on entering her new abode was 
to do homage to the Lar, in the belief that he would exer- 
cise over her a protecting influence and shield her from evil. 

In addition to those above enumerated there were 
also public Lares, who were guardians of the state, high- 
roads, country, and sea. Their temples were always 
open for any pious worshipper to enter, and on their 
altars public sacrifices were offered for the welfare of the 
state or city. 



The Penates were deities selected by each family, and 
frequently by its individual members, as a special pro- 
tector. Various causes led to this selection. If, for in- 
stance, a child were born on the festival of Vesta, it was 
thought that that deity would henceforward act as its 
special guardian. If a youth possessed great business 
talents he adopted Mercury as his tutelary deity; should 
he, on the other hand, develop a passion for music, 
Apollo was selected as his patron god, and so forth. 
These became regarded as the special divinities of the 
household, small images of them adorned the surround- 
ings of the hearth, and honours similar to those paid to 
the Lares were accorded to them. 

Just as there were public Lares so there were public 
Penates, which were worshipped by the Roman people 
under the form of two youthful warriors, who, in later 
times, were regarded as identical with Castor and Pollux. 
They are generally represented on horseback, with coni- 
cal caps on their heads, and bearing long spears in their 



In very remote times the Greeks had no shrines or 
sanctuaries devoted to public worship, but performed 
their devotions beneath the vast and boundless canopy 
of heaven, in the great temple of nature itself. Be- 
lieving that their divinities throned above the clouds, 
pious worshippers naturally sought the highest available 
points, in order to place themselves in the closest com- 
munion possible with their gods; hence the summits of 
high mountains were selected for devotional purposes, and 
the more exalted the rank and importance of the divinity 
invoked, the more elevated was the site selected for his 
or her worship. But the inconvenience attending this 
mode of worship gradually suggested the idea of erect- 
ing edifices which would afford means of shelter from the 
inclemency of the weather. 

These structures were, in the first instance, of the 
most simple form, and without decoration; but when, 
with the progress of civilization, the Greeks became a 


wealthy and powerful people, temples were built and 
adorned with the greatest splendour and magnificence, 
talent, labour, and wealth being lavished unsparingly on 
their erection and decoration; indeed so massively were 
they constructed, that some of them have, to a certain 
extent, withstood the ravages of time. The city of 
Athens especially contains numerous remains of these 
buildings of antiquity. On the Acropolis we may still 
behold, among other monuments of ancient art, the 
temple of Athene-Polias, and that of Theseus, the latter 
of which is the most entire ancient edifice in the world. 
In the island of Delos, also, are to be seen the ruins of 
the temples of Apollo and Artemis, both of which are 
in a wonderful state of preservation. These ruins are 
most valuable, being sufficiently complete to enable us to 
study, by their aid, the plan and character of the original, 

Among the Lacedaemonians, however, we find no ves- 
tiges of these stately temples, for they were specially 
enjoined by a law of Lycurgus to serve the gods with as 
little outlay as possible. When the great lawgiver was 
asked the reason of this injunction, he replied that the 
Lacedaemonians, being a poor nation, might otherwise 
abstain altogether from the observance of their religious 
duties, and wisely added that magnificent edifices and 
costly sacrifices were not so pleasing to the gods, as the 
true piety and unfeigned devotion of their worshippers. 

The most ancient temples known to us served a double 
purpose : they were not only consecrated to the service of 
the gods, but were at the same time venerable monu- 
ments in honour of the dead. Thus, for instance, the 
temple of Pallas-Athene, in the tower of the city of Lar- 
issa, served as the sepulchre of Acrisius, and the Acropolis 
at Athens received the ashes' of Cecrops, founder of the 

A temple was frequently dedicated to two or more 
gods, and was always built after the manner considered 
most acceptable to the particular divinities to whom it 
-was consecrated; for just as trees, birds, and animals of 


every description were held to be sacred to certain deities, 
so almost every god had a form of building peculiar to 
himself, which was deemed more acceptable to him than 
any other. Thus the Doric style of architecture was 
sacred to Zeus, Ares, and Heracles; the Ionic to Apollo, 
Artemis, and Dionysus; and the Corinthian to Hestia. 

In the porch of the temple stood a vessel of stone or 
brass, containing holy water (which had been consecrated 
by putting into it a burning torch, taken from the altar), 
with which all those admitted to take part in the sacri- 
fices were besprinkled. In the inmost recess of the 
sanctuary was the most, holy place, into which none but 
the priests were suffered to enter. 

Temples in the country were usually surrounded with 
groves of trees. The solitude of these shady retreats 
naturally tended to inspire the worshipper with awe and 
'reverence, added to which the delightful shade and cool- 
ness afforded by tall leafy trees is peculiarly grateful in 
hot countries. Indeed so general did this custom of 
building temples in groves become, that all places devoted 
to sacred purposes, even where no trees existed, were 
called groves. That this practice must be of very remote 
antiquity is proved by the Biblical injunction, having for 
its object the separation of the Jews from all idolatrous 
practices: "Thou shalt not plant thee a grove- of trees 
near unto the altar of the Lord thy God." 


The Greeks worshipped their gods without any visible 
representations of them until the time of Cecrops. The 
most ancient of these representations consisted of square 
blocks of stone, upon which the name of the deity 
intended to be represented was engraved. The first 
attempts at sculpture were rude stocks, with a head at 
one end and a shapeless trunk at the other, tapering 
slightly down to the feet, which, however, were not 
divided, the limbs being in no way defined. But the 
artists of later times devoted all their genius to the sue- 


cessful production of the highest ideals of their gods, 
some of which are preserved to this day, and are re- 
garded as examples of purest art. 

On a pedestal in the centre of the edifice stood the 
statue of the divinity to whom the temple was dedicated, 
surrounded by images of other gods, all of which were 
fenced off by rails. 


The altar in a Greek temple, which stood in the centre 
of the building and in front of the statue of the presiding 
deity, was generally of a circular form, and constructed 
of stone. It was customary to engrave upon it the name 
or distinguishing symbol of the divinity to whom it was 
dedicated; and it was held so sacred that if any malefactor 
fled to it his life was safe from his pursuers, and it was 
considered one of the greatest acts of sacrilege to force 
him from this asylum. 

The most ancient altars were adorned with horns, 
which in former times were emblems of power and dig- 
nity, as wealth, and consequently importance, consisted 
among most primitive nations in flocks and herds. 

In addition to those erected in places of public worship, 
altars were frequently raised in groves, on highways, or 
in the market-places of cities. 

The gods of the lower world had no altars whatever, 
ditches or trenches being dug for the reception of the 
blood of the sacrifices offered to them. 


In ancient times the priests were recognized as a special 
social caste, and were distinguished not only by their 
sacerdotal vestments, but also by their piety, wisdom, and 
blameless life. They were the chosen mediators between 
gods and men, and offered prayers and sacrifices in the 
name of the people, whom they also instructed as to what 
vows, gifts, and offerings would be most acceptable to the 


Every deity had a different order of priests consecrated 
to his worship, and in every place a high -priest was 
appointed, whose duty it was to superintend the rest of 
his order, and also to carry out the more sacred rites and 
religious observances. 

Priests and priestesses were permitted to marry, but 
not a second time; some, however, voluntarily adopted 
a life of celibacy. 


There is no doubt that a feeling of gratitude to the 
gods for their protecting care, and the abundance with 
which they were believed to bless mankind, has induced 
men of all nations and in all countries to feel a desire to 
sacrifice to their divinities some portion of the gifts so 
generously lavished upon them. 

Among the Greeks, sacrifices were of various kinds. 
They consisted of free-will offerings, propitiatory offerings, &c. 
Free-will offerings were grateful acknowledgments for 
benefits received, and usually consisted of the first-fruits 
of the field, or the finest of the flocks and herds, which 
were required to be without spot or blemish. 

Propitiatory offerings were brought with the object of 
appeasing the anger of the gods. 

In addition to those above enumerated, sacrifices were 
made, either with a view of obtaining success in an enter- 
prise about to be undertaken, or in fulfilment of a vow, 
or at the command of an oracle. 

Every sacrifice was accompanied by salt and also by a 
libation, which usually consisted of wine, the cup being 
always filled to the brim, indicating that the offering was 
made without stint. When sacrificing to the infernal 
gods the cup containing the libation was filled with 

The animals offered to the Olympian divinities were 
white, whilst those to the gods of the lower world were 
black. When a man offered a special sacrifice for him- 
self or his family it partook of the nature of his occu- 


pation; thus a shepherd brought a sheep, a vine-grower 
his grapes, and so forth. But in the case of public sacri- 
fices, the supposed individuality of the deity was always 
consulted. For instance, to Demeter a sow was offered, 
because that animal is apt to root up the seed-corn; to 
Dionysus a goat, on account of its being destructive to 
vineyards, &c. 

The value of offerings depended greatly upon the posi- 
tion of the individual; it being regarded as a contempt 
of the gods for a rich man to bring a sordid offering, 
whilst from a poor man the smallest oblation was con- 
sidered acceptable."^ 

Hecatombs consisted of a hundred animals, and were 
offered by entire communities, or by wealthy individuals 
who either desired, or had obtained some special favour 
from the gods. 

When a sacrifice was to be offered, a fire was kindled 
on the altar, into which wine and frankincense were 
poured, in order to increase the flame. In very ancient 
times, the victim was laid upon the altar and burned 
whole; but after the time of Prometheus portions only 
of the shoulders, thighs, entrails, &c., w r ere sacrificed, 
the remainder becoming the perquisites of the priests. 

The officiating priests wore a crown composed of the 
leaves of the tree sacred to the deity they invoked. 
Thus when sacrificing to Apollo the crowns were of laurel; 
when to Heracles, of poplar. This practice of wearing 
crowns was, at a later period, adopted by the general 
public at banquets and other festivities. 

On occasions of special solemnity the horns of the 
victim were overlaid with gold, and the altars decked 
with flowers and sacred herbs. 

The mode of conducting the sacrifices Avas as follows: 
All things being prepared, a salt cake, the sacrificial 
knife, and the crowns, were placed in a small basket, and 
carried to the sanctuary by a young maiden, whereupon 
the victim was conducted into the temple, frequently to 
the accompaniment of music. If a small animal, it was 
driven loose to the altar; if a large one, it was led by a 

(73) N 


long trailing rope, in order to indicate that it was not an 
unwilling sacrifice. 

When all were assembled, the priest, after walking in 
solemn state round the altar, besprinkled it with a mix- 
ture of meal and holy water, after which he also be- 
sprinkled the assembled worshippers, and exhorted them 
to join with him in prayer. The service being ended, 
the priest first tasted the libation, and after causing the 
congregation to do the like, poured the remainder between 
the horns of the victim, after which frankincense was 
strewn upon the altar, and a portion of the meal and 
water poured upon the animal, which was then killed. 
If by any chance the victim escaped the stroke, or 
became in any way restless, it was regarded as an evil 
omen; if, on the contrary, it expired without a struggle, 
it was considered auspicious. 

At the sacrifices to the aerial divinities music was 
added, whilst dances were performed round the altar, 
and sacred hymns sung. These hymns were generally 
composed in honour of the gods, and contained an 
account of their famous actions, their clemency and bene- 
ficence, and the gifts conferred by them on mankind. In 
conclusion, the gods were invoked for a continuance of 
their favour, and when the service was ended a feast was 


The desire to penetrate the dark veil of futurity, and 
thereby to avert, if possible, threatened danger, has ani- 
mated mankind in all ages of the world. Prophetic 
knowledge was sought by the Greeks at the mouth of 
oracles, whose predictions were interpreted to the people 
by priests, specially appointed for the purposa 

The most famous of these institutions was the oracle 
of Apollo at Delphi, which was held in general repute all 
over the world. People nocked from far and near to 
consult this wonderful mouth-piece of the gods, one 
month in the year being specially set apart for the pur- 


The priestess who delivered the oracles was called the 
Pythia, after the serpent Python, which was killed by 
Apollo. Having first bathed in the waters of the Cas- 
talian spring, she was conducted into the temple by the 
priests, and was seated on a sort of three-legged stool or 
table, called a tripod, which was placed over the mouth 
of a cave whence issued sulphurous vapours. Here she 
gradually became affected in a remarkable manner, and 
fell into an ecstatic condition, in which she uttered wild 
and extraordinary phrases, which were held to be the 
utterance of Apollo himself; these the priests interpreted 
to the people, but in most cases in so ambiguous a manner 
that the fulfilment of the prediction could not easily be 
disputed. During the ceremony, clouds of incense filled 
the temple, and hid the priestess from the view of the 
uninitiated, and at its conclusion she was reconducted, in 
a fainting condition, to her cell. 

The following is a striking instance of the ambiguity 
of oracular predictions : Croesus, the rich king of Lydia, 
before going to war with Cyrus, king of Persia, con- 
sulted an oracle as to the probable success of the expedi- 
tion. The reply he received was, that if he crossed a cer- 
tain river he would destroy a great empire. Interpreting 
the response as being favourable to his design, Croesus 
crossed the river, and encountered the Persian king, by 
whom he was entirely defeated; and his own empire 
being destroyed, the prediction of the oracle was said to 
have been fulfilled. 


In addition to the manifestation of the will of the gods 
by means of oracles, the Greeks also believed that certain 
men, called soothsayers, were gifted with the power of 
foretelling future events from dreams, from observing the 
flight of birds, the entrails of sacrificed animals, and even 
the direction of the flames and smoke from the altar, &<x 



The Eoman soothsayers were called augurs, and played 
an important part in the history of the Romans, as no 
enterprise was ever undertaken without first consulting 
them with regard to its ultimate success. 


Festivals were instituted as seasons of rest, rejoicing, 
and thanksgiving, and also as anniversaries to commemo- 
rate events of national importance. The most ancient 
festivals were those held after the ingathering of the har- 
vest or vintage, and were celebrated with rejoicings and 
merry-makings, which lasted many days, during which 
time the first-fruits of the fields were offered to the gods, 
accompanied by prayers and thanksgiving. 

The festivals held in cities in honour of special divini- 
ties, or in commemoration of particular events, were con- 
ducted with an elaborate ceremonial. Gorgeous proces- 
sions, games, chariot races, &c., were conspicuous features 
on these occasions, and dramatic performances, represent- 
ing particular episodes in the lives of the gods and heroes, 
frequently took place. 

We subjoin a few of the most interesting of the Greek 
and Eoman festivals. 



One of the most ancient and important among the fes- 
tivals observed by the Greeks was that of the Eleusinian 
Mysteries, which was celebrated in honour of Demeter 
and Persephone. The name was derived from Eleusis, a 
town in Attica, where the Mysteries were first introduced 
by the goddess herself. They were divided into the 


Greater and Lesser Mysteries, and, according to the gene- 
ral account, were held every five years. The Greater, 
which were celebrated in honour of Demeter, and lasted 
nine days, were held in autumn; the Lesser, dedicated 
to Persephone (who at these festivals was affectionately 
called Cora, or the maiden), were held in spring. 

It is supposed that the secrets taught to the initiated 
by the priests the expounders of the Mysteries were 
moral meanings, elucidated from the myths concerning 
Demeter and Persephone; but the most important belief 
inculcated was the doctrine of the immortality of the 
soul. That the lessons taught were of the highest moral 
character is universally admitted. "The souls of those 
who participated in them were filled with the sweetest 
hopes both as to this and the future world ; " and it was a 
common saying among the Athenians: "In the Mysteries 
no one is sad." 

The initiation into these solemn rites (which was origin- 
ally the exclusive privilege of the Athenians) was accom- 
panied Avith awe-inspiring ceremonies; and secrecy was 
so strictly enjoined that its violation was punished by 
death. At the conclusion of the initiation great rejoicings 
took place, chariot-races, wrestling matches, &c., were 
held, and solemn sacrifices offered. 

The initiation into the Lesser Mysteries served as a 
preparation for the Greater. 


The Thesmophoria was another festival held in honour 
of Demeter, in her character as presiding over marriage 
and social institutions resulting from the spread of agri- 

This festival was celebrated exclusively by women, f/ 



A joyous spring festival was held in honour of Dionysus, 
in the month of March, and lasted several days. 



This festival, which was called the Greater Dionysia, 
was celebrated with particular splendour at Athens, when 
strangers nocked from all parts of the world to take part 
in the ceremonies. The city was gaily decorated, the 
houses were garlanded with ivy- 
leaves, crowds perambulated the 
streets, everything wore its holiday 
garb, and wine was freely indulged 

In the processions which took 
place during these festivities, the 
statue of Dionysus was carried, and 
men and women, crowned with ivy 
and bearing the thyrsus, were dressed 
in every description of grotesque 
costume, and played on drums, pipes, 
flutes, cymbals, &c. Some represent- 
ing Silenus rode on asses, others 
wearing fawn-skins appeared as Pan 
or the Satyrs, and the whole multi- 
tude sang paeans in honour of the wine-god. Public 
shows, games, and sports took place, and the entire city 
was full of revelry. 

What tent additional interest to these festivals was the 
custom of introducing new comedies and tragedies to the 
public, representations of which were given, and prizes 
awarded to those which elicited the 
greatest admiration. 

The Lesser Dionysia were vintage 
festivals, celebrated in rural districts 
in the month of November, and were 
characterized by drinking, feasting, 
and joviality of all kinds. 

In connection with some of the fes- 
tivals in honour of Dionysus were 
certain mystic observances, into which 
only women, called Menades or Bac- 
chantes, were initiated. Clad in fawn- 
skins, they assembled by night on the mountain sides, 


some carrying blazing torches, others thyrsi, and all 
animated with religious enthusiasm and frenzy. They 
shouted, clapped their hands, danced wildly, and worked 
themselves up to such a pitch of excitement and fury that 
in their mad frenzy they tore in pieces the animal brought 
as a sacrifice to Dionysus. 

Under the name of Bacchanalia, these mystic rites 
were introduced into Rome, where men also were allowed 
to participate in them; but they were attended with 
such frightful excesses that the state authorities at length 
interfered and prohibited them. 


The Panathensea was a famous festival celebrated in 
Athens in honour of Athene-Polias, the guardian of the 
state. There were two festivals of this name, the Lesser 
and the Greater Panathensea. The former was held an- 
nually, and the latter, which lasted several days, was 
celebrated every fourth year. 

For the Greater Panathensea a garment, embroidered 
with gold, called the Peplus, was specially woven by 
Athenian maidens, on which was represented the victory 
gained by Athene over the Giants. This garment was 
suspended to the mast of a ship which stood outside the 
city; and during the festival, which was characterized by 
a grand procession, the ship (with the Peplus on its mast) 
was impelled forward by means of invisible machinery, 
and formed the most conspicuous feature of the pageant. 
The whole population, bearing olive branches in their 
hands, took part in the procession ; and amidst music and 
rejoicings this imposing pageant wended its way to the 
temple of Athene-Polias, where the Peplus was deposited 
on the statue of the goddess. 

At this festival, Homer's poems were declaimed aloud, 
and poets also introduced their own works to the public. 
Musical contests, foot and horse races, and wrestling 
matches were held, and dances were performed by boys 
in armour. 


Men who had deserved well of their country were pre- 
sented at the festival with a crown of gold, and the name 
of the person so distinguished was announced publicly by 
a herald. 

The victors in the races and athletic games received, 
as a prize, a vase of oil, supposed to have been extracted 
from the fruit of the sacred olive-tree of Athene. 


The Daphnephoria was celebrated at Thebes in hon- 
our of Apollo every ninth year. 

The distinguishing feature of this festival was a pro- 
cession to the temple of Apollo, in which a young priest 
(the Daphnephorus) of noble descent, splendidly attired 
and wearing a crown of gold, was preceded by a youth, 
carrying an emblematical representation of the sun, 
moon, stars, and days of the year, and followed by 
beautiful maidens bearing laurel branches, and singing 
hymns in honour of the god. 



The Saturnalia, a national festival held in December 
in honour of Saturn, was celebrated after the ingathering 
of the harvest, and lasted several days. 

It was a time of universal rejoicing, cessation from 
labour, and merry-making. School children had holi- 
days, friends sent presents to each other, the law-courts 
were closed, and no business was transacted. 

Crowds of people from the surrounding country flocked 
to Rome for this festival attired in every variety of mas- 
querade dress; practical jokes were given and received 
with the utmost good humour, shouts of exultation filled 


the air, all classes abandoned themselves to enjoyment, 
and unrestrained hilarity reigned supreme. Social dis- 
tinctions were for a time suspended, or even reversed; 
and so heartily was the spirit of this festival entered 
into, that masters waited upon their slaves at ban- 
quets which they provided for them; the slaves being 
dressed upon these occasions in the garments of their 

There appears little doubt that the modern Carnival is 
a survival of the ancient Saturnalia. 


This festival was celebrated in honour of Ceres. It 
was solemnized exclusively by women, Avho, dressed in 
white garments, wandered about with torches in their 
hands, to represent the search of the goddess for her 
daughter Proserpine. 

During this festival, games were celebrated in the 
Circus Maximus, to which none were admitted unless 
clothed in white. 


The Vestalia was a festival held in honour of Vesta on 
the 9th of June, and was celebrated exclusively by 
women, who walked barefooted in procession to the 
temple of the goddess. 

The priestesses of Vesta, called Vestales or Vestal 
Virgins, played a conspicuous part in these festivals. 
They were six in number, and were chosen between 
the ages of six and ten from the noblest families in 
Rome. Their term of office was thirty years. During 
the first ten years, they were initiated in their religious 
duties, during the second ten they performed them, and 
during the third they instructed novices. Their chief 
duty was to watch and feed the ever-burning flame on 
the altar of Vesta, the extinction of which was regarded 
as a national calamity of ominous import. 


Great honours and privileges were accorded to them; 
the best seats were reserved for their use at all public 
spectacles, and even the consuls and praetors made way 
for them to pass. If they met a criminal on his way to 
execution they had the power to pardon him, provided 
it could be proved that the meeting was accidental. 

The Vestales were vowed to chastity, a violation of 
which was visited by the frightful punishment of being 
buried alive. 



The following is the legendary account -of the found- 
ing of Thebes: 

After the abduction of his daughter Europa by Zeus, 
Agenor, king of Phoenicia, unable to reconcile himself to 
her loss, despatched his son Cadmus in search of her, 
desiring him not to return without his sister. 

For many years Cadmus pursued his search through 
various countries, but without success. Not daring to 
return home without her, he consulted the oracle of 
Apollo at Delphi; and the reply was that he must desist 
from his task, and take upon himself a new duty, i.e. 
that of founding a city, the site of which would be in- 
dicated to him by a heifer which had never borne the 
yoke, and which would lie down on the spot whereon the 
city was to be built. 

Scarcely had Cadmus left the sacred fane, when he ob- 
served a heifer who bore no marks of servitude on her 
neck, walking slowly in front of him. He followed the 
animal for a considerable distance, until at length, on the 
site where Thebes afterwards stood, she looked towards 
heaven and, gently lowing, lay down in the long grass. 
Grateful for this mark of divine favour, Cadmus resolved 
to offer up the animal as a sacrifice, and accordingly sent 
his followers to fetch water for the libation from a neigh- 
bouring spring. This spring, which was sacred to Ares, 
was situated in a wood, and guarded by a fierce dragon, 
who, at the approach of the retainers of Cadmus, sud- 
denly pounced upon them and killed them. 

After waiting some time for the return of his servants 


Cadmus grew impatient, and hastily arming himself with 
his lance and spear, set out to seek them. On reaching 
the spot, the mangled remains of his unfortunate followers 
met his view, and near them he beheld the frightful mon- 
ster, dripping with the blood of his victims. Seizing a 
huge rock, the hero hurled it with all his might upon 
the dragon; but protected by his tough black skin and 
steely scales as by a coat of mail, he remained unhurt. 
Cadmus now tried his lance, and with more success, for 
it pierced the side of the beast, who, furious with pain, 
sprang at his adversary, when Cadmus, leaping aside, 
succeeded in fixing the point of his spear within his 
jaws, which final stroke put an end to the encounter. 

While Cadmus stood surveying his vanquished foe 
Pallas- Athene appeared to him, and commanded him to 
sow the teeth of the dead dragon in the ground. He 
obeyed; and out of the furrows there arose a band of 
armed men, who at once commenced to fight with each 
other, until all except five were killed. These last sur- 
viving warriors made peace with each other, and it was 
with their assistance that Cadmus now built the famous 
city of Thebes. In later times the noblest Theban 
families proudly claimed their descent from these mighty 
earth-born warriors. 

Ares was furious with rage when he discovered that 
Cadmus had slain his dragon, and would have killed him 
had not Zeus interfered, and induced him to mitigate 
his punishment to that of servitude for the term of 
eight years. At the end of that time the god of war 
became reconciled to Cadmus, and, in token of his for- 
giveness, bestowed upon him the hand of his daughter 
Harmonia in marriage. Their nuptials were almost as 
celebrated as those of Peleus and Thetis. All the gods 
honoured them with their presence, and offered rich 
gifts and congratulations. Cadmus himself presented 
his lovely bride with a splendid necklace fashioned by 
Hephaestus, which, however, after the death of Har- 
monia, always proved fatal to its possessor. 

The children of Cadmus and Harmonia were one son, 

Polydorus, and four daughters, Autonoe, Ino, Semele, 
and Agave. 

For many years the founder of Thebes reigned hap- 
pily, but at length a conspiracy was formed against him, 
and he was deprived of his throne by his grandson 
Pentheus. Accompanied by his faithful wife Harmonia, 
he retired into Illyria, and after death they were both 
changed by Zeus into serpents, and transferred to Ely- 


Perseus, one of the most renowned of the legendary 
heroes of antiquity, was the son of Zeus and Danae, daughter 
of Acrisius, king of Argos. 

An oracle having foretold to Acrisius that a son of 
Danae would be the cause of his death, he imprisoned 
her in a tower of brass in order to keep her secluded 
from the world. Zeus, however, descended through the 
roof of the tower in the form of a shower of gold, and 
the lovely Danae became his bride. 

For four years Acrisius remained in ignorance of this 
union, but one evening as he chanced to pass by the 
brazen chamber, he heard the cry of a young child pro- 
ceeding from within, which led to the discovery of his 
daughter's marriage with Zeus. Enraged at finding all 
pis precautions unavailing, Acrisius commanded the 
mother and cliild to be placed in a chest and thrown into 
the sea. 

But it was not the will of Zeus that they should 
perish. He directed Poseidon to calm the troubled 
waters, and caused the chest to float safely to the island 
of Seriphus. Dictys, brother of Polydectes, king of the 
island, was fishing on the sea-shore when he saw the 
chest stranded on the beach; and pitying the helpless 
condition of its unhappy occupants, he conducted them 
to the palace of the king, where they were treated with 
the greatest kindness. 

Polydectes eventually became united to Danae, and 


bestowed upon Perseus an education befitting a hero. 
When he saw his stepson develop into a noble and 
manly youth he endeavoured to instil into his mind a 
desire to signalize himself by the achievement of some 
great and heroic deed, and after mature deliberation it 
was decided that the slaying of the Gorgon, Medusa, 
would bring him the greatest renown. 

For the successful accomplishment of his object it 
was necessary for him to be provided with a pair of 
winged sandals, a magic wallet, and the helmet of Aides, 
which rendered the Avearer invisible, all of which were in 
the keeping of the Nymphs, the place of whose abode was 
known only to the Grseae. Perseus started on his expedi- 
tion, and, guided by Hermes and Pallas-Athene, arrived, 
after a long journey, in the far-off region, on the borders 
of Oceanus, where dwelt the Graese, daughters of Phorcys 
and Ceto. He at once applied to them for the necessary 
information, and on their refusing to grant it he deprived 
them of their single eye and tooth, which he only re- 
stored to them when they gave him full directions with 
regard to his route. He then proceeded to the abode of 
the Nymphs, from whom he obtained the objects indis- 
pensable for his purpose. 

Equipped with the magic helmet and wallet, and armed 
with a sickle, the gift of Hermes, he attached to his feet 
the winged sandals, and flew to the abode of the Gorgons, 
whom he found fast asleep. Now as Perseus had been 
warned by his celestial guides that whoever looked upon 
these weird sisters would be transformed into stone, he 
stood with averted face before the sleepers, and caught 
on his bright metal shield their triple image. Then, 
guided by Pallas-Athene, he cut off the head of the 
Medusa, which he placed in his wallet. No sooner had 
he done so than from the headless trunk there sprang 
forth the winged steed Pegasus, and Chrysaor, the father 
of the winged giant Geryon. He now hastened to elude 
the pursuit of the two surviving sisters, who, aroused 
from their slumbers, eagerly rushed to avenge the death 
of their sister. 


His invisible helmet and winged sandals here stood 
him in good stead; for the former concealed him from 
the view of the Gorgons, whilst the latter bore him 
swiftly over land and sea, far beyond the reach of pursuit. 
In passing over the burning plains of Libya the drops of 
blood from the head of the Medusa oozed through the 
wallet, and falling on the hot sands below produced a 
brood of many-coloured snakes, which spread all over the 

Perseus continued his flight until he reached the king- 
dom of Atlas, of whom he begged rest and shelter. But 
as this king possessed a valuable orchard, in which every 
tree bore golden fruit, he was fearful lest the slayer of 
the Medusa might destroy the dragon which guarded it, 
and then rob him of his treasures. He therefore refused 
to grant the hospitality which the hero demanded, where- 
upon Perseus, exasperated at the churlish repulse, pro- 
duced from his wallet the head of the Medusa, and hold- 
ing it towards the king, transformed him into a stony 
mountain. Beard and hair erected themselves into forests; 
shoulders, hands, and limbs became huge rocks, and the 
head grew up into a craggy peak which reached into the 

Perseus then resumed his travels. His winged sandals 
bore him over deserts and mountains, until he arrived at 
./Ethiopia, the kingdom of King Cepheus. Here he found 
the country inundated with disastrous floods, towns and 
villages destroyed, and everywhere signs of desolation 
and ruin. On a projecting cliff close to the shore he 
beheld a lovely maiden chained to a rock. This was 
Andromeda, the king's daughter. Her mother Cassiopea, 
having boasted that her beauty surpassed that of the 
Nereides, the angry sea-nymphs appealed to Poseidon to 
avenge their wrongs, whereupon the sea-god devastated 
the country with a terrible inundation, which brought 
with it a huge monster who devoured all that came in 
" " 3 way. 

In their distress the unfortunate .^Ethiopians applied 
to the oracle of Jupiter-Ammon, in the Libyan desert, 


and obtained the response, that only by the sacrifice of 
the king's daughter to the monster could the country 
and people be saved. 

Cepheus, who was tenderly attached to his child, at 
first refused to listen to this dreadful proposal; but over- 
come at length by the prayers and solicitations of his 
unhappy subjects, the heart-broken father gave up his 
child for the welfare of his country. Andromeda was 
accordingly chained to a rock on the sea-shore to serve 
as a prey to the monster, whilst her unhappy parents 
bewailed her sad fate on the beach below. 

On being informed of the meaning of this tragic scene, 
Perseus proposed to Cepheus to slay the dragon, on con- 
dition that the lovely victim should become his bride. 
Overjoyed at the prospect of Andromeda's release, the 
king gladly acceded to the stipulation, and Perseus 
hastened to the rock, to breathe words of hope and com- 
fort to the trembling maiden. Then assuming once more 
the helmet of Aides, he mounted into the air, and awaited 
the approach of the monster. 

Presently the sea opened, and the shark's head of the 
gigantic beast of the deep raised itself above the waves. 
Lashing .his tail furiously from side to side, he leaped 
forward to seize his victim; but the gallant hero, watching 
his opportunity, suddenly darted down, and producing 
the head of the Medusa from his wallet, held it before 
the eyes of the dragon, whose hideous body became 
gradually transformed into a huge black rock, which 
remained for ever a silent witness of the miraculous de- 
liverance of Andromeda. Perseus then led the maiden 
to her now happy parents, who, anxious to evince their 
gratitude to her deliverer, ordered immediate prepara- 
tions to be made for the nuptial feast. But the young 
hero was not to bear away his lovely bride uncontested; 
for in the midst of the banquet, Phineus, the king's 
brother, to whom Andromeda had previously been be- 
trothed, returned to claim his bride. Followed by a 
band of armed warriors he forced his way into the hall, 
*nd a desperate encounter took place between the rivals, 

which might have terminated fatally for Perseus, had he 
not suddenly bethought himself of the Medusa's head. 
Calling to his friends to avert their faces, he drew it 
from his wallet, and held it before Phineus and his for- 
midable body-guard, whereupon they all stiffened into 

Perseus now took leave of the ^Ethiopian king, and, 
accompanied by his beautiful bride, returned to Seriphus, 
where a joyful meeting took place between Danae and 
her son. He then sent a messenger to his grandfather, 
informing him that he intended returning to Argos; but 
Acrisius, fearing the fulfilment of the oracular prediction, 
ned for protection to his friend Teutemias, king of Larissa. 
Anxious to induce the aged monarch to return to Argos, 
Perseus followed him thither. But here a strange 
fatality occurred. Whilst taking part in some funereal 
games, celebrated in honour of the king's father, Perseus, 
by an unfortunate throw of the discus, accidentally struck 
his grandfather, and thereby was the innocent cause of 
his death. 

After celebrating the funereal rites of Acrisius with 
due solemnity, Perseus returned 
to Argos; but feeling loath to 
occupy the throne of one whose 
death he had caused, he exchanged 
kingdoms with Megapenthes, king 
of Tiryns, and in course of time 
founded the cities of Mycenae and 

The head of the Medusa he 
presented to his divine patroness, 
Pallas-Athene, who placed it in 
the centre of her shield. 

Many great heroes were de- 
scended from Perseus and An- 
dromeda, foremost among whom 
was Heracles, whose mother, Alc- 
mene, was their granddaughter. 

Heroic honours were paid to Perseus, not only through- 

(73) O 


out Argos, but also at Athens and in the island of 


Ion was the son of Creusa (the beauteous daughter of 
Erechtheus, king of Athens) and the sun-god Phoebus- 
Apollo, to whom she was united without the knowledge 
of her father. 

Fearing the anger of Erechtheus, Creusa placed her 
new-born babe in a little wicker basket, and hanging some 
golden charms round his neck, invoked for him the pro- 
tection of the gods, and concealed him in a lonely cave. 
Apollo, pitying his deserted child, sent Hermes to con- 
vey him to Delphi, where he deposited his charge on the 
steps of the temple. Next morning the Delphic priestess 
discovered the infant, and was so charmed by his engag- 
ing appearance that she adopted him as her own son. 
The young child was carefully tended and reared by his 
kind foster-mother, and was brought up in the service of 
the temple, where he was intrusted with some of the 
minor duties of the holy edifice. 

And now to return to Creusa. During a war with the 
Euboeans, in which the latter were signally defeated, 
Xuthus, son of ^Eolus, greatly distinguished himself on 
the side of the Athenians, and as a reward for his valu- 
able services, the hand of Creusa, the king's daughter, 
was bestowed upon him in marriage. Their union, how- 
ever, was not blest with children, and as this was a source 
of great grief to both of them, they repaired to Delphi 
in order to consult the oracle. The response was, that 
Xuthus should regard the first person who met him on 
leaving the sanctuary as his son. Now it happened that 
Ion, the young guardian of the temple, was the first to 
greet his view, and when Xuthus beheld the beautiful 
youth, he gladly welcomed him as his son, declaring that 
the gods had sent him to be a blessing and comfort to his 
old age. Creusa, however, who concluded that the youth 
was the offspring of a secret marriage on the part of 
her husband, was filled with suspicion and jealousy j 


when an old servant, observing her grief, begged her to 
be comforted, assuring her that the cause of her distress 
should be speedily removed. 

When, upon the occasion of the public adoption of his 
son, Xuthus gave a grand banquet, the old servant of 
Creusa contrived to mix a strong poison in the wine of 
the unsuspecting Ion. But the youth according to the 
pious custom of the ancients, of offering a libation to the 
gods before partaking of any repast poured upon the 
ground a portion of the wine before putting it to his lips, 
when suddenly, as if by a miracle, a dove flew into the 
banquet-hall, and sipped of the wine of the libation; 
whereupon the poor little creature began to quiver in 
every limb, and in a few moments expired. 

Ion's suspicions at once fell upon the obsequious servant 
of Creusa, who with such officious attention had filled 
his cup. He violently seized the old man, and accused 
him of his murderous intentions. Unprepared for this 
sudden attack he admitted his guilt, but pointed to the 
wife of Xuthus as the instigator of the crime. Ion was 
about to avenge himself upon Creusa, when, by means ot 
the divine intervention of Apollo, his foster-mother, the 
Delphic priestess appeared on the scene, and explained the 
true relationship which existed between Creusa and Ion. 
In order to set all doubts at rest, she produced the charms 
which she had found round the neck of the infant, and also 
the wicker basket in which he had been conveyed to Delphi. 

Mother and son now became reconciled to each other, 
and Creusa revealed to Ion the secret of his divine origin. 
The priestess of Delphi foretold that he would become 
the father of a great nation, called after him the lonians, 
and also that Xuthus and Creu?a would have a son called 
Dorus, who would be the progenitor of the Dorian people, 
both of which predictions were in due time verified. 


Daedalus, a descendant of Erechtheus, was an Athenian 
architect, sculptor, and mechanician. He was the first 


to introduce the art of sculpture in its higher develop- 
ment, for before his time statues were merely rude 
representations, having the limbs altogether undefined. 

But great as was his genius, still greater was his 
vanity, and he could brook no rival Now his nephew 
and pupil, Talus, exhibited great talent, having invented 
both the saw and the compass, and Daedalus, fearing lest 
he might overshadow his own fame, secretly killed him 
by throwing him down from the citadel of Pallas- Athene. 
The murder being discovered, Daedalus was summoned 
before the court of the Areopagus and condemned to 
death; but he made his escape to the island of Crete, 
where he was received by king Minos in a manner 
worthy of his great reputation. 

Daedalus constructed for the king the world-renowned 
labyrinth, which was an immense building, full of intri- 
cate passages, intersecting each other in such a manner, 
that even Daedalus himself is said, upon one occasion, 
to have nearly lost his way in it; and "it was in this 
building the king placed the Minotaur, a monster with 
the head and shoulders of a bull and the body of a man. 

In the course of time the great artist became weary 
of his long exile, more especially as the king, under 
the guise of friendship, kept him almost a prisoner. He 
therefore resolved to make his escape, and for this pur- 
pose ingeniously contrived wings for himself and his 
young son Icarus, whom he diligently trained how to use 
them. Having awaited a favourable opportunity, father 
and son commenced their flight, and were well on their 
way when Icarus, pleased with the novel sensation, for- 
got altogether his father's oft-repeated injunction not to 
approach too near the sun. The consequence was that 
the wax, by means of which his wings were attached, 
melted, and he fell into the sea and was drowned. The 
body of the unfortunate Icarus was washed up by the 
tide, and was buried by the bereaved father on an island 
which he called after his son, Icaria. 

After this sad event, Daedalus winged his flight to the 
island of Sicily, where he met with a kind welcome from 


king Cocalus, for whom he constructed several impor- 
tant public works. But no sooner did Minos receive the 
intelligence that his great architect had found an asylum 
with Cocalus than he sailed over to Sicily with a large 
army, and sent messengers to the Sicilian king demand- 
ing the surrender of his guest. Cocalus feigned com- 
pliance and invited Minos to his palace, where he was 
treacherously put to death in a warm bath. The body of 
their king was brought to Agrigent by the Cretans, 
where it was buried with great pomp, and over his tomb 
a temple to Aphrodite was erected. 

Daedalus passed the remainder of his life tranquilly in 
the island of Sicily, where he occupied himself in the 
construction of various beautiful works of art. 


Aeson, king of lolcus, was forced to fly from his 
dominions, which had been usurped by his younger 
brother, Pelias, and with difficulty succeeded in saving 
the life of his young son, Jason, who was at that time 
only ten years of age. He intrusted him to the care of 
the Centaur Chiron, by whom he was carefully trained 
in company with other noble youths, who, like himself, 
afterwards signalized themselves by their bravery and 
heroic exploits. For ten years Jason remained in the 
cave of the Centaur, by whom he was instructed in all 
useful and warlike arts. But as he approached manhood 
he became filled with an unconquerable desire to regain 
his paternal inheritance. He therefore took leave of his 
kind friend and preceptor, and set out for lolcus to 
demand from his uncle Pelias the kingdom which he had 
FO unjustly usurped. 

In the course of his journey he came to a broad and 
foaming river, on the banks of which he perceived an 
old woman, who implored him to help her across. At 
first he hesitated, knowing that even alone he would 
find some difficulty in stemming the fierce torrent; but, 


pitying her forlorn condition, he raised her in his arms, 
and succeeded, with a great effort, in reaching the oppo- 
site shore. But as soon as her feet had touched the 
earth she became transformed into a beautiful woman, 
who, looking kindly at the bewildered youth, informed 
him that she was the goddess Hera, and that she would 
henceforth guide and protect him throughout his career. 
She then disappeared, and, full of hope and courage at 
this divine manifestation, Jason pursued his journey. 
He now perceived that in crossing the river he had lost 
one of his sandals, but as it could not be recovered he 
was obliged to proceed without it. 

On his arrival at lolcus he found his uncle in the 
market-place, offering up a public sacrifice to Poseidon. 
When the king had concluded his offering, his eye fell 
upon the distinguished stranger, whose manly beauty 
and heroic bearing had already attracted the attention of 
his people. Observing that one foot was unshod, he 
was reminded of an oracular prediction which foretold to 
him the loss of his kingdom by a man wearing only one 
sandal He, however, disguised his fears, conversed 
kindly with the youth, and drew from him his name and 
errand. Then pretending to be highly pleased with his 
nephew, Pelias entertained him sumptuously for five 
days, during which time all was festivity and rejoicing. 
On the sixth, Jason appeared before his uncle, and with 
manly firmness demanded from him the throne and 
kingdom which were his by right. Pelias, dissembling 
his true feelings, smilingly consented to grant his re- 
quest, provided that, in return, Jason would undertake an 
expedition for him, which his advanced age prevented 
him from accomplishing himself. He informed his 
nephew that the shade of Phryxus had appeared to him 
in his dreams, and entreated him to bring back from 
Colchis his mortal remains and the Golden Fleece ; and 
added that if Jason succeeded in obtaining for him 
these sacred relics, throne, kingdom, and sceptre should 
be his. 



Athamas, king of Boeotia, had married Nephele, a 
cloud-nymph, and their children were Helle and Phryxus. 
The restless and wandering nature of Nephele, however, 
soon wearied her husband, who, being a mortal, had 
little sympathy with his ethereal consort; so he divorced 
her, and married the beautiful but wicked Ino (sister of 
Semele), who hated her step-children, and even planned 
their destruction. But the watchful Nephele contrived 
to circumvent her cruel designs, and succeeded in get- 
ting the children out of the palace. She then placed 
them both on the back of a winged ram, with a fleece 
of pure gold, which had been given to her by Her- 
mes; and on this wonderful animal brother and sister 
rode through the air over land and sea; but on the 
way Helle, becoming seized with giddiness, fell into 
the sea (called after her the Hellespont) and was 

Phryxus arrived safely at Colchis, where he was hos- 
pitably received by king Aetes, who gave him one of 
his daughters in marriage. In gratitude to Zeus for the 
protection accorded him during his flight, Phryxus sacri- 
ficed to him the golden ram, whilst the fleece he pre- 
sented to Aetes, who nailed it up in the Grove of Ares, 
and dedicated it to the god of War. An oracle having 
declared that the life of Aetes depended on the safe- 
keeping of the fleece, he carefully guarded the entrance 
to the grove by placing before it an immense dragon, 
which never slept. 

Building and Launch of the Argo. We will 
now return to Jason, who eagerly undertook the perilous 
expedition proposed to him by his uncle, who, well aware 
of the dangers attending such an enterprise, hoped by 
this means to rid himself for ever of the umvelcome 

Jason accordingly began to arrange his plans without 
delay, and invited the young heroes whose friendship he 


had formed whilst under the care of Chiron, to join him 
in the perilous expedition. None refused the invitation, 
all feeling honoured at being allowed the privilege of 
taking part in so noble and heroic an undertaking. 

Jason now applied to Argos, one of the cleverest ship- 
builders of his time, who, under the guidance of Pallas- 
Athene, built for him a splendid fifty-oared galley, which 
was called the Argo, after the builder. In the upper 
deck of the vessel the goddess had imbedded a board 
from the speaking oak of the oracle of Zeus at Dodona, 
which ever retained its powers of prophecy. The exterior 
of the ship was ornamented with magnificent carvings, 
and the whole vessel was so strongly built that it defied 
the power of the winds and waves, and was, nevertheless, 
so light that the heroes, when necessary, were able to 
carry it on their shoulders. When the vessel was com- 
pleted, the Argonauts (so called after their ship) as- 
sembled, and their places were distributed by lot. 

Jason was appointed commander-in-chief of the ex- 
pedition, Tiphys acted as steersman, Lynceus as pilot. 
In the bbw of the vessel sat the renowned hero Heracles; 
in the stern, Peleus (father of Achilles) and Telamon 
(the father of Ajax the Great). In the inner space were 
Castor and Pollux, Neleus (the father of Nestor), Ad- 
metus (the husband of Alcestes), Meleager (the slayer of 
the Calydonian boar), Orpheus (the renowned singer), 
Menoetius (the father of Patroclus), Theseus (afterwards 
king of Athens) and his friend Pirithous (the son of 
Ixion), Hylas (the adopted son of Heracles), Euphemus 
(the son of Poseidon), Oileus (father of Ajax the Lesser), 
Zetes and Calais (the winged sons of Boreas), Idmon the 
Seer (the son of Apollo), Mopsus (the Thessalian prophet), 
&c. &c. 

Before their departure Jason offered a solemn sacrifice 
to Poseidon and all the other sea-deities; he also invoked 
the protection of Zeus and the Fates, and then, Mopsus 
having taken the auguries, and found them auspicious, 
the heroes stepped on board. And now a favourable 
breeze having sprung up, they take their allotted places, 


the anchor is weighed, and the ship glides like a bird out 
of ,the harbour into the waters of the great sea. 


Arrival at Lemnos. The Argo, with her brave 

crew of fifty heroes, was soon out of sight, and the sea- 
breeze only wafted to the shore a faint echo of the sweet 
strains of Orpheus. 

For a time all went smoothly, but the vessel was soon 
driven, by stress of weather, to take refuge in a harbour 
in the island of Lemnos. This island was inhabited by 
women only, who, the year before, in a fit of mad 
jealousy, had killed all the male population of the island, 
with the exception of the father of their queen, Hypsi- 
pyle. As the protection of their island now devolved 
upon themselves they were always on the look-out for 
danger. When, therefore, they sighted the Argo from 
afar they armed themselves and rushed to the shore, 
determined to repel any invasion of their territory. 

On arriving in port the Argonauts, astonished at behold- 
ing an armed crowd of women, despatched a herald in one 
of their boats, bearing the staff of peace and friendship. 
Hypsipyle, the queen, proposed that food and presents 
should be sent to the strangers, in order to prevent their 
landing; but her old nurse, who stood beside her, sug- 
gested that this would be a good opportunity to provide 
themselves with noble husbands, who would act as their 
defenders, and thus put an end to their constant fears. 
Hypsipyle listened attentively to the advice of her nurse, 
and after some consultation, decided to invite the 
strangers into the city. Eobed in his purple mantle, 
the gift of Pallas-Athene, Jason, accompanied by some 
of his companions, stepped on shore, where he was met 
by a deputation consisting of the most beautiful of the 
Lemnian women, and, as commander of the expedition, 
was invited into the palace of the queen. 

When he appeared before Hypsipyle, she was so struck 
with his godlike and heroic presence that she presented 
him with her father's sceptre, and invited him to seat 
himself on the throne beside her. Jason thereupon 


took up his residence in the royal castle, whilst his 
companions scattered themselves through the town, 
spending their time in feasting and pleasure. Heracles, 
with a few chosen comrades, alone remained on board. 

From day to day their departure was delayed, and the 
Argonauts, in their new life of dissipation, had almost 
forgotten the object of the expedition, when Heracles 
suddenly appeared amongst them, and at last ^called 
them to a sense of their duty. 

Giants and Doliones. The Argonauts now pursued 
their voyage, till contrary winds drove them towards an 
island, inhabited by the Doliones, whose king Cyzicus 
received them with great kindness and hospitality. The 
Doliones were descendants of Poseidon, who protected 
them against the frequent attacks of their fierce and 
formidable neighbours, the earth-born Giants monsters 
with six arms. 

Whilst his companions were attending a banquet 
given by king Cyzicus, Heracles, who, as usual, had 
remained behind to guard the ship, observed that these 
Giants were busy blocking up the harbour with huge rocks. 
He at once realized the danger, and, attacking them 
with his arrows, succeeded in considerably thinning their 
numbers; then, assisted by the heroes, who at length 
came to his aid, he effectually destroyed the remainder. 

The Argo now steered out of the harbour and set sail; 
but in consequence of a severe storm which arose at night, 
was driven back once more to the shores of the kindly 
Doliones. Unfortunately, however, owing to the dark- 
ness of the night, the inhabitants failed to recognize 
their former guests, and, mistaking them for enemies, 
commenced to attack them. Those who had so recently 
parted as friends were now engaged in mortal combat, 
and in the battle which ensued, Jason himself pierced 
to the heart his friend king Cyzicus; whereupon the 
Doliones, being deprived of their leader, fled to their 
city and closed the gates. When morning dawned, and 
both sides perceived their error, they were filled with 


the deepest sorrow and remorse; and for three days the 
heroes remained with the Doliones, celebrating the 
funereal rites of the slain, with every demonstration of 
mourning and solemnity. 

Heracles left behind. The Argonauts once more 
set sail, and after a stormy voyage arrived at Mysia, 
where they were hospitably received by the inhabitants, 
who spread before them plentiful banquets and sump- 
tuously regaled them. 

While his friends were feasting, Heracles, who had 
declined to join them, went into the forest to seek a fir- 
tree which he required for an oar, and was missed by his 
adopted son Hylas, who set out to seek him. When the 
youth arrived at a spring, in the most secluded part of 
the forest, the nymph of the fountain was so struck 
by his beauty that she drew him down beneath the 
waters, and he was seen no more. Polyphemus, one of 
the heroes, who happened to be also in the forest, heard 
his cry for help, and on meeting Heracles informed him 
of the circumstance. They at once set out in search of 
the missing youth, no traces of whom were to be found, 
and whilst they were engaged looking for him, the Argo 
set sail and left them behind. 

The ship had proceeded some distance before the 
absence of Heracles was observed. Some of the heroes 
were in favour of returning for him, others wished to 
proceed on their journey, when, in the midst of the dis- 
pute, the sea-god Glaucus arose from the waves, and 
informed them that it was the will of Zeus that Hera- 
cles, having another mission to perform, should remain 
behind. The Argonauts continued their voyage without 
their companions; Heracles returned to Argos, whilst 
Polyphemus remained with the Mysians, where he 
founded a city and became its king. 

Contest with Amyous. Next morning the Argo 
touched at the country of the Bebrycians, whose king 
Amycus was a famous pugilist, and permitted no 
strangers to leave his shores without matching their 


strength with his. "When the heroes, therefore, de- 
manded permission to land, they were informed that 
they could only do so provided that one of their number 
should engage in a boxing-match with the king. Pollux, 
who was the best pugilist in Greece, was selected as their 
champion, and a contest took place, which, after a tre- 
mendous struggle, proved fatal to Amycus, who had 
hitherto been victorious in all similar encounters. 

Phineus and the Harpies. They now proceeded 
towards Bithynia, where reigned the blind old prophet- 
king Phineus, son of Agenor. Phineus had been pun- 
ished by the gods with premature old age and blindness 
for having abused the gift of prophecy. He was also 
tormented by the Harpies, who swooped down upon his 
food, which they either devoured or so defiled as to 
render it unfit to be eaten. This poor old man, trem- 
bling with the weakness of age, and faint with hunger, 
appeared before the Argonauts, and implored their as- 
sistance againsb his fiendish tormentors, whereupon Zetes 
and Calais, the winged sons of Boreas, recognizing in 
him the husband of their sister Cleopatra, affectionately 
embraced him, and promised to rescue him from his 
painful position. 

The heroes prepared a banquet on the sea-shore, to 
which they invited Phineus; but no sooner had he taken 
his place, than the Harpies appeared and devoured all 
the viands. Zetes and Calais now rose up into the air, 
drove the Harpies away, and were pursuing them with 
drawn swords, when Iris, the swift-footed messenger of 
the gods, appeared, and desired them to desist from their 
work of vengeance, promising that Phineus should be no 
longer molested. 

Freed at length from his tormentors the old man sat 
down and enjoyed a plentiful repast with his kind 
friends the Argonauts, who now informed him of the 
object of their voyage. In gratitude for his deliverance 
Phineus gave them much useful information concerning 
their journey, and not only warned them of the manifold 


dangers awaiting them, but also instructed them how 
they might be overcome. 

Passage of the Symplegades. After a fortnight's 
sojourn in Bithynia the Argonauts once more set sail, 
but had not proceeded far on their course, when they 
heard a fearful and tremendous crash. This was 
caused by the meeting of two great rocky islands, called 
the Symplegades, which floated about in the sea, and 
constantly met and separated. 

Before leaving Bithynia, the blind old seer, Phineus, 
had informed them that they would be compelled to 
pass between these terrible rocks, and he instructed 
them how to do so with safety. As they now ap- 
proached the scene of danger they remembered his ad- 
vice, and acted upon it. Typhus, the steersman, stood 
at the helm, whilst Euphemus held in his hand a dove 
ready to be let loose; for Phineus had told them that if 
the dove ventured to fly through, they might safely fol- 
low. Euphemus now despatched the bird, which passed 
swiftly through the islands, yet not without losing some 
of the feathers of her tail, so speedily did they reunite. 
Seizing the moment when the rocks once more separated, 
the Argonauts worked at their oars with all their might, 
and achieved the perilous passage in safety. 

After the miraculous passage of the Argo, the Symple- 
gades became permanently united, and attached to the 
bottom of the sea. 

The Stymphalides. The Argo pursued her course 
along the southern coast of the Pontus, and arrived at 
the island of Aretias, which was inhabited by birds, who, 
as they flew through the air, discharged from their wings 
feathers sharp as arrows. 

As the ship was gliding along, Oileus was wounded by 
one of these birds, whereupon the Argonauts held a 
council, and by the advice of Amphidamas, an experienced 
hero, all put on their helmets, and held up their glittering 
shields, uttering, at the same time, such fearful cries that 


the birds flew away in terror, and the Argonauts were 
enabled to land with safety on the island. 

Here they found four shipwrecked youths, who proved 
to be the sons of Phryxus, and were greeted by Jason as 
his cousins. On ascertaining the object of the expedition 
they volunteered to accompany the Argo, and to show 
the heroes the way to Colchis. They also informed them 
that the Golden Fleece was guarded by a fearful dragon, 
that king Ae'tes was extremely cruel, and, as the son of 
Apollo, was possessed of superhuman strength. 

Arrival at Colchis. Taking with them the four 
new-comers they journeyed on, and soon came in sight 
of the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus, when, towards 
evening, the loud flapping of wings was heard overhead. 
It was the giant eagle of Prometheus on his way to tor- 
ture the noble and long-suffering Titan, whose fearful 
groans soon afterwards fell upon their ears. That night 
they reached their journey's end, and anchored in the 
smooth waters of the river Phases. On the left bank of 
this river they beheld Ceuta, the capital of Colchis; and 
on their right a wide field, and the sacred grove of Ares, 
where the Golden Fleece, suspended from a magnificent 
oak-tree, was glittering in the sun. Jason now filled a 
golden cup with wine, and offered a libation *o mother- 
earth, the gods of the country, and the shades of those of 
the heroes who had died on the voyage. 

Next morning a council was held, in which it was 
decided, that before resorting to forcible measures kind 
and conciliatory overtures should first be made to king 
Ae'fces in order to induce him to resign the Golden Fleece. 
It was arranged that Jason, with a few chosen companions, 
should proceed to the royal castle, leaving the remainder 
of the crew to guard the Argo. Accompanied, therefore, 
by Telamon and Augeas, and the four sons of Phryxus, 
he set out for the palace. 

When they arrived in sight of the castle they were 
struck by the vastness and. massiveness of the building, 
at the entrance to which sparkling fountains played in 


the midst of luxuriant and park-like gardens. Here the 
king's daughters, Chalciope and Medea, who were walk- 
ing in the grounds of the palace, met them. The former, 
to her great joy, recognized in the youths who accompa- 
nied the hero her own long-lost sons, whom she had 
mourned as dead, whilst the young and lovely Medea 
was struck with the noble and manly form of Jason. 

The news of the return of the sons of Phryxus soon 
spread through the palace, and brought Ae'tes himself to 
the scene, whereupon the strangers were presented to 
him, and were invited to a banquet which the king 
ordered to be prepared in their honour. All the most 
beautiful ladies of the court were present at this enter- 
tainment; but in the eyes of Jason none could compare 
with the king's daughter, the young and lovely Medea. 

When the banquet was ended, Jason related to the 
king his various adventures, and also the object of his 
expedition, with the circumstances which had led to his 
undertaking it. Ae'tes listened, in silent indignation, to 
this recital, and then burst out into a torrent of invectives 
against the Argonauts and his grand-children, declaring 
that the Fleece was his rightful property, and that on no 
consideration would he consent to relinquish it. Jason, 
however, with mild and persuasive words, contrived so 
far to conciliate him, that he was induced to promise that 
if the heroes could succeed in demonstrating their divine 
origin by the performance of some task requiring super- 
human power, the Fleece should be theirs. 

The task proposed by Ae'tes to Jason was that he 
should yoke the two brazen-footed, fire-breathing oxen of 
the king (which had been made for him by Hephaestus) 
to his ponderous iron plough. Having done this he must 
till with them the stony field of Ares, and then sow in 
the furrows the poisonous teeth of a dragon, from which 
armed men would arise. These he must destroy to a 
man, or he himself would perish at their hands. 

When Jason heard what was expected of him, his heart 
for a moment sank within him ; but he determined, never- 
theless, not to flinch from his task, but to trust to the 


assistance of the gods, and to his own courage and 

Jason ploughs the Field of Ares. Accompanied 
by his two friends, Telamon and Augeas, and also by 
Argus, the son of Chalciope, Jason returned to the vessel 
for the purpose of holding a consultation as to the best 
means of accomplishing these perilous feats. 

Argus explained to Jason all the difficulties of the 
superhuman task which lay before him, and pronounced 
it as his opinion that the only means by which success 
was possible was to enlist the assistance of the Princess 
Medea, who was a priestess of Hecate, and a great en- 
chantress. His suggestion meeting with approval, he 
returned to the palace, and by the aid of his mother an 
interview was arranged between Jason and Medea, which 
took place, at an early hour next morning, in the temple 
of Hecate. 

A confession of mutual attachment took place, and 
Medea, trembling for her lover's safety, presented him 
with a magic salve, which possessed the property of ren- 
dering any person anointed with it invulnerable for the 
space of one day against fire and steel, and invincible 
against any adversary however powerful With this 
salve she instructed him to anoint his spear and shield on 
the day of his great undertaking. She further added 
that when, after having ploughed the field and sown the 
teeth, armed men should arise from the furrows, he must 
on no account lose heart, but remember to throw among 
them a huge rock, over the possession of which they 
would fight among themselves, and their attention being 
thus diverted he would find it an easy task to destroy 
them. Overwhelmed with gratitude, Jason thanked her, 
in the most earnest manner, for her wise counsel and 
timely aid ; at the same time he offered her his hand, and 
promised her he would not return to Greece without 
taking her with him as his wife. 

Next morning Ae'tes, in all the pomp of state, sur- 
rounded by his family and the members of his court, 


repaired to a spot whence a full view of the approaching 
spectacle could be obtained. Soon Jason appeared in the 
field of Ares, looking as noble and majestic as the god of 
war himself. In a distant part of the field the brazen 
yokes and the massive plough met his view, but as yet 
the dread animals themselves were nowhere to be seen. 
He was about to go in quest of them, when they suddenly 
rushed out from a subterranean cave, breathing fiames of 
fire, and enveloped in a thick smoke. 

The friends of Jason trembled; but the undaunted 
hero, relying on the magic powers with which he was 
imbued by Medea, seized the oxen, one after the other, by 
the horns, and forced them to the yoke. Near the plough 
was a helmet full of dragon's teeth, which he sowed as he 
ploughed the field, whilst with sharp pricks from his lance 
he compelled the monstrous creatures to draw the plough 
over the stony ground, which was thus speedily tilled. 

While Jason was engaged sowing the dragon's teeth in 
the deep furrows of the field, he kept a cautious look-out 
lest the germinating giant brood might grow too quickly 
for him, and as soon as the four acres of land had been 
tilled he unyoked the oxen, and succeeded in frightening 
them so effectually with his weapons, that they rushed 
back in terror to their subterranean stables. Meanwhile 
armed men had sprung up out of the furrows, and .the 
whole field now bristled with lances; but Jason, remem- 
bering the instructions of Medea, seized an immense rock 
and hurled it into the midst of these earth-born warriors, 
who immediately began to attack each other. Jason then 
rushed furiously upon them, and after a terrible struggle 
not one of the giants remained alive. 

Furious at seeing his murderous schemes thus defeated, 
Aetes not only perfidiously refused to give Jason the 
Fleece which he had so bravely earned, but, in his anger, 
determined to destroy all the Argonauts, and to burn 
their vessel 

Jason secures the Golden Fleece. Becoming 
aware of the treacherous designs of her father, Medea at 

(78) P 


once took measures to baffle them. In the darkness of 
night she went on board the Argo, and warned the heroes 
of their approaching danger. She then advised Jason to 
accompany her without loss of time to the sacred grove, 
in order to possess himself of the long-coveted treasura 
They set out together, and Medea, followed by Jason, 
led the way, and advanced boldly into the grove. The 
tall oak-tree was soon discovered, from the topmost 
boughs of which hung the beautiful Golden Fleece. At 
the foot of this tree, keeping his ever-wakeful watch, lay 
the dreadful, sleepless dragon, who at sight of them 
bounded forward, opening his huge jaws. 

Medea now called into play her magic powers, and 
quietly approaching the monster, threw over him a few 
drops of a potion, which soon took effect, and sent him 
into a deep sleep; whereupon Jason, seizing the oppor- 
tunity, climbed the tree and secured the Fleece. -Their 
perilous task being now accomplished, Jason and Medea 
quitted the grove, and hastened on board the Argo, 
which immediately put to sea. 

Murder of Absyrtus. Meanwhile Aetes, having 
discovered the loss of his daughter and the Golden Fleece, 
despatched a large fleet, under the command of his son 
Absyrtus, in pursuit of the fugitives. After some days' 
sail they arrived at an island at the mouth of the river 
Ister, where they found the Argo at anchor, and surrounded 
her with their numerous ships. They then despatched a 
herald on board of her, demanding the surrender of 
Medea and the Fleece. 

Medea now consulted Jason, and, with his consent, 
carried out the following stratagem. She sent a message 
to her brother Absyrtus, to the effect that she had been 
carried off against her will, and promised that if he would 
meet her, in the darkness of night, in the temple of 
Artemis, she would assist him in regaining possession of 
the Golden Fleece. Relying on the good faith of his 
sister, Absyrtus fell into the snare, and duly appeared at 
the appointed try sting-place; and whilst Medea kept her 


brother engaged in conversation, Jason rushed forward 
and slew him. Then, according to a preconcerted signal, 
he held aloft a lighted torch, whereupon the Argonauts 
attacked the Colchians, put them to flight, and entirely 
defeated them. 

The Argonauts now returned to their ship, when the 
prophetic board from the Dodonean oak thus addressed 
them: "The cruel murder of Absyrtus was witnessed by 
the Erinyes, and you will not escape the wrath of Zeus 
until the goddess Circe has purified you from your crime. 
Let Castor and Pollux pray to the gods that you may be 
enabled to find the abode of the sorceress." In obedience 
to the voice, the twin-brothers invoked divine assistance, 
and the heroes set out in search of the isle of Circe. 

They arrive at the Island of Circe. The good 
ship Argo sped on her way, and, after passing safely 
through the foaming waters of the river Eridanus, at 
length arrived in the harbour of the island of Circe, where 
she cast anchor. 

Commanding his companions to remain on board, Jason 
landed with Medea, and conducted her to the palace of the 
sorceress. The goddess of charms and magic arts received 
them kindly, and invited them to be seated; but instead 
of doing so they assumed a supplicating attitude, and 
humbly besought her protection. They then informed 
her of the dreadful crime which they had committed, and 
implored her to purify them from it. This Circe promised 
to do. She forthwith commanded her attendant Naiads 
to kindle the fire on the altar, and to prepare everything 
necessary for the performance of the mystic rites, after 
which a dog was sacrificed, and the sacred cakes were 
burned. Having thus duly purified the criminals, she 
severely reprimanded them for the horrible murder of 
which they had been guilty; whereupon Medea, with 
veiled head, and weeping bitterly, was reconducted by 
J,aon to the Ar^o. 

Further Adventures of the Argonauts. Having 
left the island of Circe they were wafted by gentle 


zephyrs towards the abode of the Sirens, whose enticing 
strains soon fell upon their ears. The Argonauts, pow- 
erfully affected by the melody, were making ready to 
land, when Orpheus perceived the danger, and, to the 
accompaniment of his magic lyre, commenced one of his 
enchanting songs, which so completely absorbed his 
listeners that they passed the island in safety; but not 
before Bates, one of their number, lured by the seductive 
music of the Sirens, had sprung from the vessel into the 
waves below. Aphrodite, however, in pity for his youth, 
landed him gently on the island of Libibaou before the 
Sirens could reach him, and there he remained for many 

And now the Argonauts approached new dangers, for 
on one side of them seethed and foamed the whirlpool of 
Charybdis, whilst oji the other toAvered the mighty rock 
whence the monster Scylla swooped down upon unfor- 
tunate mariners; but here the goddess Hera came to 
their assistance, and sent to them the sea-nymph Thetis, 
who guided them safely through these dangerous straits. 

The Argo next arrived at the island of the Phaeaces, 
where they were hospitably entertained by King Alci- 
nous and his queen Arete. But the banquet prepared 
for them by their kind host was unexpectedly inter- 
rupted by the appearance of a large army of Col- 
chians, sent by Ae'tes to demand the restoration of his 

Aledea threw herself at the feet of the queen, and im- 
plored her to save her from the anger of her father, and 
Arete, in her kindness of heart, promised her her protec- 
tion. Next morning, in an assembly of the people at 
which the Colchians were invited to be present, the latter 
were informed that as Medea was the lawful wife of 
Jason they could not consent to deliver her up; where- 
upon the Colchians, seeing that the resolution of the king 
was not to be shaken, and fearing to face the anger of 
Ae'tes should they return to Colchis without her, sought 
permission of Alcinous to settle in his kingdom, which 
request was accorded them. 


After these events the Argonauts once more set sail, 
and steered for lolcus; but, in the course of a terrible 
and fearful night, a mighty storm arose, and in the 
morning they found themselves stranded on the treacher- 
ous quicksands of Syrtes, on the shores of Libya. Here 
all was a waste and barren desert, untenanted by any 
living creature, save the venomous snakes which had 
sprung from the blood of the Medusa when borne by 
Perseus over these arid plains. 

They had already passed several days in this abode of 
desolation, beneath the rays of the scorching sun, and 
had abandoned themselves to the deepest despair, when 
the Libyan queen, who was a prophetess of divine origin, 
appeared to Jason, and informed him that a sea-horse 
would be sent by the gods to act as his guide. 

Scarcely had she departed when a gigantic hippocamp 
was seen in the distance, making its way towards the 
Argo. Jason now related to his companions the par- 
ticulars of his interview with the Libyan prophetess, and 
after some deliberation it was decided to carry the Argo 
on their shoulders, and to follow wherever the sea-horse 
should lead them. They then commenced a long and 
weary journey through the desert, and at last, after 
twelve days of severe toil and terrible suffering, the wel- 
come sight of the sea greeted their view. In gratitude 
for having been saved from their manifold dangers they 
offered up sacrifices to the gods, and launched their ship 
once more into the deep waters of the ocean. 

Arrival at Crete. With heartfelt joy and gladness 
they proceeded on their homeward voyage, and after 
some days arrived at the island of Crete, where they 
purposed to furnish themselves with fresh provisions and 
water. Their landing, however, was opposed by a ter- 
rible giant who guarded the island against all intruders. 
This giant, whose name was Talus, was the last of the 
Brazen race, and being formed of brass, was invulner- 
able, except in his right ankle, where there was a sinew 
of flesh and a vein of blood. As he saw the Argo 


nearing the coast, he hurled huge rocks at her, which 
would inevitably have sunk the vessel had not the crew 
beat a hasty retreat. Although sadly in want of 
food and water, the Argonauts had decided to pro- 
ceed on their journey rather than face so powerful an 
opponent, when Medea came forward and assured them 
that if they would trust to her she would destroy the 

Enveloped in the folds of a rich purple mantle, she 
stepped on deck, and after invoking the aid of the 
Fates, uttered a magic incantation, which had the effect 
of throwing Talus into a deep sleep. He stretched him- 
self at full length upon the ground, and in doing so 
grazed his vulnerable ankle against the point of a sharp 
rock, whereupon a mighty stream of blood gushed forth 
from the wound. Awakened by the pain, he tried to 
rise, but in vain, and with a mighty groan of anguish 
the giant fell dead, and his enormous body rolled heavily 
over into the deep. The heroes being now able to land, 
provisioned their vessel, after which they resumed their 
homeward voyage. 

Arrival at lolcus. After a terrible night of storm 
and darkness they passed the island of JEgina, and at 
length reached in safety the port of lolcus, where the 
recital of their numerous adventures and hair-breadth 
escapes was listened to with wondering admiration by 
their fellow-countrymen. 

The Argo was consecrated to Poseidon, and was care- 
fully preserved for many generations till no vestige of 
it remained, when it was placed in the heavens as a bril- 
liant constellation. 

On his arrival at lolcus, Jason conducted his beautiful 
bride to the palace of his uncle Pelias, taking with him 
the Golden Fleece, for the sake of which this perilous 
expedition had been undertaken. But the old king, who 
had never expected that Jason would return alive, basely 
refused to fulfil his part of the compact, and declined to 
abdicate the throne. 


Indignant at the wrongs of her husband, Medea 
avenged them in a most shocking manner. She made 
friends with the daughters of the king, and feigned great 
interest in all their concerns. Having gained their con- 
fidence, she informed them, that among her numerous 
magic arts, she possessed the power of restoring to the 
aged all the vigour and strength of youth, and in order 
to give them a convincing proof of the truth of her asser- 
tion, she cut up an old ram, which she boiled in a cauld- 
ron, whereupon, after uttering various mystic incantations, 
there came forth from the vessel a beautiful young lamb. 
She then assured them, that in a similar manner they 
could restore to their old father his former youthful frame 
and vigour. The fond and credulous daughters of Pelias 
lent an all too willing ear to the wicked sorceress, and 
thus the old king perished at the hands of his innocent 

Death of Jason. Medea and Jason now fled to 
Corinth, where at length they found, for a time, peace 
and tranquillity, their happiness being completed by the 
birth of three children. 

As time passed on, however, and Medea began to lose 
the beauty which had won the love of her husband, he 
grew weary of her, and became attracted by the youthful 
charms of Glauce, the beautiful daughter of Creon, king 
of Corinth. Jason had obtained her father's consent to 
their union, and the wedding-day was already fixed, be- 
fore he disclosed to Medea the treachery which he medi- 
tated against her. He used all his persuasive powers in 
order to induce her to consent to his union with Glauce, 
assuring her that his affection had in no way diminished, 
but that for the sake of the advantages which would 
thereby accrue to their children, he had decided on form- 
ing this alliance with the royal house. Though justly 
enraged at his deceitful conduct, Medea dissembled her 
wrath, and, feigning to be satisfied with this explanation, 
sent, as a wedding-gift to her rival, a magnificent robe of 
cloth-of-gold. This robe was imbued with a deadly 


poison which penetrated to the flesh and bone of the 
wearer, and burned them as though with a consuming fire. 
Pleased with the beauty and costliness of the garment, 
the unsuspecting Glauce lost no time in donning it; but 
no sooner had she done so than the fell poison began to 
take effect. In vain she tried to tear the robe away; it 
defied all efforts to be removed, and after horrible and 
protracted sufferings, she expired. 

Maddened at the loss of her husband's love Medea 
next put to death Jier three sons, and when Jason, 
thirsting for revenge, left the chamber of his dead bride, 
and flew to his own house in search of Medea, the ghast- 
ly spectacle of his murdered children met his view. He 
rushed frantically to seek the murderess, but nowhere 
could she be found. At length, hearing a sound above 
his head, he looked up, and beheld Medea gliding through 
the air in a golden chariot drawn by dragons. 

In a fit of despair Jason threw himself on his own 
sword, and perished on the threshold of his desolate and 
deserted home. 


Pelops, the son of the cruel Tantalus, was a pious and 
virtuous prince. After his father was banished into Tar- 
tarus, a war ensued between Pelops and the king of Troy, 
in which the former was vanquished and forced to fly 
from his dominions in Phrygia. He emigrated into 
Greece, where, at the court of (Enomaus, king of Elis, 
he beheld Hippodamia, the king's daughter, whose beauty 
won his heart. But an oracle having foretold to (Eno- 
maus that he would die on the day of his daughter's 
marriage, he threw every obstacle in the way of her 
suitors, and declared that he would only give her to him 
who succeeded in vanquishing him in a chariot race, but 
that all unsuccessful competitors should suffer death at 
his hands. 

The conditions of the contest were as follows: The 
race was to be run from a given point at Pisa to the altar 
of Poseidon at Corinth; the suitor was allowed to start 

PELOPS. 233 

on his course whilst (Enomaus performed his sacrifice to 
Zeus, and only on its completion did the king mount his 
chariot, guided by the skilful Myrtilus, and drawn by his 
two famous horses, Phylla and Harpinna, who surpassed 
in swiftness the winds themselves. In this manner many 
a gallant young prince had perished ; for although a con- 
siderable start was given to all competitors, still (Eno- 
maus, with his swift team, always overtook them before 
they reached the goal, and killed them with his spear. 
But the love of Pelops for Hippodamia overcame all 
fears, and, undeterred by the terrible fate of his prede- 
cessors, he announced himself to CEnomaus as a suitor 
for the hand of his daughter. 

On the eve of the race, Pelops repaired to the sea-shore 
and earnestly implored Poseidon to assist him in his 
perilous undertaking. The sea-god heard his prayer, and 
sent him out of the deep a chariot drawn by two winged 

When Pelops appeared on the course, the king at once 
recognized the horses of Poseidon; but, nothing daunted, 
he relied on his own supernatural team, and the contest 
was allowed to proceed. 

Whilst the king was offering his sacrifice to Zeus 
Pelops set out on the race, and had nearly reached the 
goal, when, turning round, he beheld CEnomaus, spear 
in hand, who, with his magic steeds, had nearly over- 
taken him. But in this emergency Poseidon came to the 
aid of the son of Tantalus. He caused the wheels of the 
royal chariot to fly off, whereupon the king was thrown 
out violently, and killed on the spot, just as Pelops 
arrived at the altar of Poseidon. 

As the hero was about to return to Pisa to claim his 
bride, he beheld, in the distance, flames issuing from the 
royal castle, which at that instant had been struck by 
lightning. With his winged horses he flew to rescue his 
lovely bride, and succeeded in extricating her uninjured 
from the burning building. They soon afterwards became 
united, and Pelops reigaed in Pisa for many years in 
great splendour. 



Heracles, the most renowned hero of antiquity, was 
the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the great grandson of 

At the time of his birth Alcmene was living at Thebes 
with her husband Amphitryon, and thus the infant Her- 
acles was born in the palace of his stepfather. 

Aware of the animosity with which Hera persecuted 
all those who rivalled her in the affections of Zeus, Alc- 
mene, fearful lest this hatred should be visited on her 
innocent child, intrusted him, soon after his birth, to the 
care of a faithful servant, with instructions to expose 
him in a certain field, and there leave him, feeling assured 
that the divine offspring of Zeus would not long remain 
without the protection of the gods. 

Soon after the child had been thus abandoned, Hera 
and Pallas-Athene happened to pass by the field, and 
were attracted by its cries. Athene pityingly took up 
the infant in her arms, and prevailed upon the queen of 
heaven to put it to her breast; but no sooner had she 
done so, than the child, causing her pain, she angrily 
threw him to the ground, and left the spot. Athene, 
moved with compassion, carried him to Alcmene, and 
entreated her kind offices on behalf of the poor little 
foundling. Alcmene at once recognized her child, and 
joyfully accepted the charge. 

Soon afterwards Hera, to her extreme annoyance, dis- 
covered whom she had nursed, and became filled with 
jealous rage. She now sent two venomous snakes into 
the chamber of Alcmene, which crept, unperceived by the 
nurses, to the cradle of the sleeping child. He awoke 
with a cry, and grasping a snake in each hand, strangled 
them both. Alcmene and her attendants, whom the cry 
of the child had awakened, rushed to the cradle, where, 
to their astonishment and terror, they beheld the two 
reptiles dead in the hands of the infant Heracles. Am- 
phitryon was also attracted to the chamber by the com- 


motion, and when he beheld this astounding proof of 
supernatural strength, he declared that the child must 
have been sent to him as a special gift from Zeus. He 
accordingly consulted the famous seer Tiresias, who now 
informed him of the divine origin of his stepson, and 
prognosticated for him a great and distinguished future. 

When Amphitryon heard the noble destiny which 
awaited the child intrusted to his care, he resolved to 
educate him in a manner worthy of his future career. At 
a suitable age he himself taught him how to guide a 
chariot; Eurytus, how to handle the bow; Autolycus, dex- 
terity in wrestling and boxing; and Castor, the art of 
armed warfare; whilst Linus, the son of Apollo, instructed 
him in music and letters. 

Heracles was an apt pupil; but undue harshness was 
intolerable to his high spirit, and old Linus, who was not 
the gentlest of teachers, one day corrected him with 
blows, whereupon the boy angrily took up his lyre, and, 
with one stroke of his powerful arm, killed his tutor on 
the spot. 

Apprehensive lest the ungovernable temper of the 
youth might again involve him in similar acts of violence, 
Amphitryon sent him into the country, where he placed 
him under the charge of one of his most trusted herds- 
men. Here, as he grew up to manhood, his extraordinary 
stature and strength became the wonder and admiration 
of all .beholders. His aim, whether with spear, lance, or 
bow, was unerring, and at the age of eighteen he was 
considered to be the strongest as well as the most beauti- 
ful youth in all Greece. 

The Choice of Heracles. Heracles felt that the 
time had now arrived when it became necessary to decide 
for himself how to make use of the extraordinary powers 
with which he had been endowed by the gods; and in 
order to meditate in solitude on this all-important subject, 
he repaired to a lonely and secluded spot in the heart of 
the forest. 

Here two females of great beauty appeared to him. 


One was Vice, the other Virtue. The former was full of 
artificial wiles and fascinating arts, her face painted and 
her dress gaudy and attractive; whilst the latter was of 
noble bearing and modest mien, her robes of spotless 

Vice stepped forward and thus addressed him: "If 
you will walk in my paths, and make me your friend, 
your life shall be one round of pleasure and enjoyment. 
You shall taste of every delight which can be procured 
on earth; the choicest viands, the most delicious wines, 
the most luxuriant of couches shall be ever at your dis- 
posal; and all this without any exertion on your part, 
either physical or mental." 

Virtue now spoke in her turn: "If you will follow 
me and be my friend, I promise you the reward of a good 
conscience, and the love and respect of your fellowmen. 
I cannot undertake to smooth your path with roses, or 
to give you a life of idleness and pleasure; for you must 
know that the gods grant no good and desirable thing 
that is not earned by labour; and as you sow, so must 
you reap." 

Heracles listened patiently and attentively to both 
speakers, and then, after mature deliberation, decided 
to follow in the paths of virtue, and henceforth to honour 
the gods, and to devote his life to the service of his 

Full of these noble resolves he sought once more his 
rural home, where he was informed that on Mount 
Cithseron, at the foot of which the herds of Amphitryon 
were grazing, a ferocious lion had fixed his lair, and was 
committing such frightful ravages among the flocks and 
herds that he had become the scourge and terror of the 
whole neighbourhood. Heracles at once armed himself 
and ascended the mountain, where he soon caught sight 
of the lion, and rushing at him with his sword succeeded 
in killing him. The hide of the animal he wore ever 
afterwards over his shoulders, and the head served him 
as a helmet. 

As he was returning from this, his first exploit, ke met 


the heralds of Erginus, king of the Minyans, who were 
proceeding to Thebes to demand their annual tribute of 
100 oxen. Indignant at this humiliation of his native 
city, Heracles mutilated the heralds, and sent them back, 
with ropes round their necks, to their royal master. 

Erginus was so incensed at the ill-treatment of his 
messengers that he collected an army and appeared be- 
fore the gates of Thebes, demanding the surrender of 
Heracles. Creon, who was at this time king of Thebes, 
fearing the consequences of a refusal, was about to 
yield, when the hero, with the assistance of Amphitryon 
and a band of brave youths, advanced against the Min- 

Heracles took possession of a narrow defile through 
which the enemy were compelled to pass, and as they 
entered the pass the Thebans fell upon them, killed their 
king Erginus, and completely routed them. In this en- 
gagement Amphitryon, the kind friend and foster-father 
of Heracles, lost his life. The hero now advanced upon 
Orchomenus, the capital of the Minyans, where he burned 
the royal castle and sacked the town. 

After this signal victory all Greece rang with the fame 
of the young hero, and Creon, in gratitude for his great 
services, bestowed upon him his daughter Megara in 
marriage. The Olympian gods testified their appreciation 
of his valour by sending him presents; Hermes gave him 
a sword, Phcebus- Apollo a bundle of arrows, Hephaestus 
a golden quiver, and Athene a coat of leather. 

Heracles and Eurystheus. And now it will be 
necessary to retrace our steps. Just before the birth of 
Heracles, Zeus, in an assembly of the gods, exultingly 
declared that the child who should be born on that day 
to the house of Perseus should rule over all his race. 
When Hera heard her lord's boastful announcement she 
knew well that it was for the child of the hated Alcmene 
that this brilliant destiny was designed; and in order to 
rob the son of her rival of his rights, she called to her 
aid the goddess Eilithyia, who retarded the birth of 


Heracles, and caused his cousin Eurystheus (another 
grandson of Perseus) to precede him into the world. And 
thus, as the word of the mighty Zeus was irrevocable, 
Heracles became the subject and servant of his cousin 

When, after his splendid victory over Erginus, the 
fame of Heracles spread throughout Greece, Eurystheus 
(who had become king of Mycenae), jealous of the 
reputation of the young hero, asserted his rights, and 
commanded him to undertake for him various difficult 
tasks. But the proud spirit of the hero rebelled against 
this humiliation, and he was about to refuse compliance, 
when Zeus appeared to him and desired him not to rebel 
against the Fates. Heracles now repaired to Delphi in 
order to consult the oracle, and received the answer that 
after performing ten tasks for his cousin Eurystheus his 
servitude would be at an end. 

Soon afterwards Heracles fell into a state of the deepest 
melancholy, and through the influence of his inveterate 
enemy, the goddess Hera, this despondency developed 
into raving madness, in which condition he killed his own 
children. When he at length regained his reason he 
was sa horrified and grieved at what he had done, that 
he shut himself up in his chamber and avoided all inter- 
course with men. But in his loneliness and seclusion the 
conviction that work would be the b^st means of procur- 
ing oblivion of the past decided him to enter, without 
delay, upon the tasks appointed him by Eurystheus. 

1. The Nemean Lion. His first task was to bring 
to Eurystheus the skin of the much-dreaded Nemean lion, 
which ravaged the territory between Cleone and Nemea, 
and whose hide was invulnerable against any mortal 

Heracles proceeded to the forest of Nemea, where, 
having discovered the lion's lair, he attempted to pierce 
him with his arrows; but finding these of no avail he 
felled him to the ground with his club, and before the 
animal had time to recover from the terrible blow, Hera- 



cles seized him by the neck and, with a mighty effort, 
succeeded in strangling him. He then made himself a 
coat of mail of the skin, and a new helmet of the head of 
the animal. Thus attired, he so alarmed Eurystheus by 
appearing suddenly before him, that the king concealed 
himself in his palace, and henceforth forbade Heracles to 
enter his presence, but commanded him to receive his be- 
hests, for the future, through his messenger Copreus. 

2. The Hydra. His second task was to slay the 
Hydra, a monster serpent (the offspring of Typhon and 
Echidna), bristling with 
nine heads, one of which 
was immortal. This mon- 
ster infested the neigh- 
bourhood of Lerna, where 
she committed great de- 
predations among the 

Heracles, accompanied 
by his nephew lolaus, set 
out in a chariot for the 
marsh of Lerna, in the 
slimy waters of which he 
found her. He com- 
menced the attack by 

assailing her with his fierce arrows, in order to force her 
to leave her lair, from which she at length emerged, and 
sought refuge in a wood on a neighbouring hill. Hera- 
cles now rushed forward and endeavoured to crush her 
heads by means of well-directed blows from his tremen- 
dous club; but no sooner was one head destroyed than 
it was immediately replaced by two others. He next 
seized the monster in his powerful grasp; but at this 
juncture a giant crab came to the assistance of the 
Hydra and commenced biting the feet of her assailant 
Heracles destroyed this new adversary with his club, and 
now called upon his nephew to come to his aid. At 
his command lolaus set fire to the neighbouring trees, 



and, with a burning branch, seared the necks of the mon- 
ster as Heracles cut them off, thus effectually preventing 
the growth of more. Heracles next struck off the 
immortal head,- which he buried by the road-side, and 
placed over it a heavy stone. Into the poisonous blood of 
the monster he then dipped his arrows, which ever after- 
wards rendered wounds inflicted by them incurable. 

3. The Horned Hind. The third labour of Hera- 
cles was to bring the horned hind Cerunitis alive to 
Mycense. This animal, which was sacred to Artemis, 
had golden antlers and hoofs of brass. 

Not wishing to wound the hind Heracles patiently 
pursued her through many countries for a whole year, 
and overtook her at last on the banks of the river Ladon; 
but even there he was compelled, in order to secure her, 
to wound her with one of his arrows, after which he 
lifted her on his shoulders and carried her through 
Arcadia. On his way he met Artemis with her brother 
Phoebus-Apollo, when the goddess angrily reproved 
him for wounding her favourite hind; but Heracles 
succeeded in appeasing her dis- 
pleasure, whereupon she permitted 
him to take the animal alive to 

4. The Erymantian Boar. 
The fourth task imposed upon 
Heracles by Eurystheus was to 
bring alive to Mycenae the Ery- 
mantian boar, which had laid waste 
the region of Erymantia, and was 
the scourge of the surrounding 

On his way thither he craved 
food and shelter of a Centaur 
named Pholus, who received him 
with generous hospitality, setting 
before him a good and plentiful repast. When Heracles 
expressed his surprise that at such a well-furnished board 


wine should be wanting, his host explained that the wine- 
cellar was the common property of all the Centaurs, and 
that it was against the rules for a cask to be broached, ex- 
cept all were present to partake of it. By dint of persua- 
sion, however, Heracles prevailed on his kind host to make 
an exception in his favour; but the powerful, luscious odour 
of the good old wine soon spread over the mountains, and 
brought large numbers of Centaurs to the spot, all armed 
with huge rocks and fir-trees. Heracles drove them back 
with fire-brands, and then, following up his victory, pursued 
them with his arrows as far as Malea, where they took 
refuge in the cave of the kind old Centaur Chiron. Un- 
fortunately, however, as Heracles was shooting at them 
with his poisoned darts, one of these pierced the knee 
of Chiron. When Heracles discovered that it was the 
friend of his early days that he had wounded, he was 
overcome with sorrow and regret. He at once extracted 
the arrow, and anointed the wound with a salve, the virtue 
of which had been taught him by Chiron himself. But 
all his efforts were unavailing. The wound, imbued with 
the deadly poison of the Hydra, was incurable, and so great 
was the agony of Chiron that, at the intercession of Hera- 
cles, death was sent him by the gods; for otherwise, being 
immortal, he would have been doomed to endless suffering. 

Pholus, who had so kindly entertained Heracles, also 
perished by means of one of these arrows, which he had 
extracted from the body of a dead Centaur. While he 
was quietly examining it, astonished that so small and 
insignificant an object should be productive of such 
serious results, the arrow fell upon his foot and fatally 
wounded him. Full of grief at this untoward event, 
Heracles buried him with due honours, and Ihen set out 
to chase the boar. 

With loud shouts and terrible cries he first drove him 
out of the thickets into the deep snow-drifts which 
covered the summit of the mountain, and then, having 
at length wearied him with his incessant pursuit, he 
captured the exhausted animal, bound him with a rope, 
and brought him alive to Mycenae. 

(73) Q 


5. Cleansing the Stables of Augeas. After slay- 
ing the Erymantian boar Eurystheus commanded Hera- 
cles to cleanse in one day the stables of Augeas. 

Augeas was a king of Elis who was very rich in herds. 
Three thousand of his cattle he kept near the royal 
palace in an inclosure where the refuse had accumulated 
for many years. When Heracles presented himself 
before the king, and offered to cleanse bis stables in one 
day, provided he should receive in return a tenth part 
of the herds, Augeas, thinking the feat impossible, 
accepted his offer in the presence of his son Phyleus. 

Near the palace were the two rivers Peneus and 
Alpheus, the streams of which Heracles conducted into 
the stables by means of a trench which he dug for this 
purpose, and as the waters rushed through the shed, they 
swept away with them the whole mass of accumulated 

But when Augeas heard that this was one of the 
labours imposed by Eurystheus, he refused the promised 
guerdon. Heracles brought the matter before a court, 
and called Phyleus as a witness to the justice of his 
claim, whereupon Augeas, without waiting for the de- 
livery of the verdict, angrily banished Heracles and his 
son from his dominions. 

6. The Stymphalides. The sixth task was to 
chase away the Stymphalides, which were immense birds 
of prey who, as we have seen (in the legend of the 
Argonauts), shot from their wings feathers sharp as 
arrows. The home of these birds was on the shore of 
the lake Stymphalis, in Arcadia (after which they were 
called), where they caused great destruction among men 
and cattle. 

On approaching the lake, Heracles observed great 
numbers of them; and, while hesitating how to com- 
mence the attack, he suddenly felt a hand on his shoul- 
der. Looking round he beheld the majestic form of 
Pallas- Athene, who held in her hand a gigantic pair of 
brazen clappers made by Hephaestus, with which she 


presented him; whereupon he ascended to the summit 
of a neighbouring hill, and commenced to rattle them 
violently. The shrill noise of these instruments was so 
intolerable to the birds that they rose into the air in 
terror, upon which he aimed at them with his arrows, 
destroying them in great numbers, whilst such as escaped 
his darts flew away, never to return. 

7. The Cretan Bull. The seventh labour of Hera- 
cles was to capture the Cretan bull. 

Minos, king of Crete, having vowed to sacrifice to 
Poseidon any animal which should first appear out of 
the sea, the god caused a magnificent bull to emerge 
from the waves in order to test the sincerity of the 
Cretan king, who, in making this vow, had alleged that 
he possessed no animal, among his own herds, worthy the 
acceptance of the mighty sea-god. Charmed with the 
splendid animal sent by Poseidon, and eager to possess 
it, Minos placed it among his herds, and substituted as a 
sacrifice one of his own bulls. Hereupon Poseidon, in 
order to punish the cupidity of Minos, caused the animal 
to become mad, and commit such great havoc in the 
island as to endanger the safety of the inhabitants. 
When Heracles, therefore, arrived in Crete for the pur- 
pose of capturing the bull, Minos, far from opposing his 
design, gladly gave him permission to do so. 

The hero not only succeeded in securing the animal, 
but tamed him so effectually that he rode on his back 
right across the sea as far as the Peloponnesus. He now 
delivered him up to Eurystheus, who at once set him at 
liberty, after which he became as ferocious and wild as 
before, roamed all over Greece into Arcadia, and was 
eventually killed by Theseus on the plains of Marathon. 

8. The Mares of Diomedes. The eighth labour 
of Heracles was to bring to Eurystheus the mares of 
Diomedes, a son of Ares, and king of the Bistonians, a 
warlike Thracian tribe. This king possessed a breed of 
wild horses of tremendous size and strength, whose food 
consisted of human flesh, and all strangers who had the 


misfortune to enter the country were made prisoners 
and flung before the horses, who devoured them. 

When Heracles arrived he first captured the cruel 
Diomedes himself, and then threw him before his own 
mares, who, after devouring their master, became per- 
fectly tame and tractable. They were then led by 
Heracles to the sea-shore, when the Bistonians, enraged 
at the loss of their king, rushed after the hero and at- 
tacked him. He now gave the animals in charge of his 
friend Abderus, and made such a furious onslaught on 
his assailants that they turned and fled. 

But on his return from this encounter he found, to his 
great grief, that the mares had torn his friend in pieces 
and devoured him. After celebrating due funereal rites 
to the unfortunate Abderus, Heracles built a city in his 
honour, which he named after him. He then returned to 
Tiryns, where he delivered up the mares to Eurystheus, 
who set them loose on Mount Olympus, where they 
became the prey of wild beasts. 

It was after the performance of this task that Heracles 
joined the Argonauts in their expedition to gain posses- 
sion of the Golden Fleece, and was left behind at Chios, 
as already narrated. During his wanderings he under- 
took his ninth labour, which was to bring to Eurystheus 
the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. 

9. The Girdle of Hippolyte. The Amazons, who 
dwelt on the shores of the Black Sea, near the river 
Thermodon, were a nation of warlike women, renowned 
for their strength, courage, and great skill in horsemanship. 
Their queen, Hippolyte, had received from her father, 
Ares, a beautiful girdle, which she always wore as a sign 
of her royal power and authority, and it was this girdle 
which Heracles was required to place in the hands of 
Eurystheus, who designed it as a gift for his daughter 

Foreseeing that this would be a task of no ordinary 
difficulty the hero called to his aid a select band of brave 
companions, with whom he embarked for the Amazonian 


town Themiscyra. Here they were met by queen Hip- 
polyte, who was so impressed by the extraordinary stature 
and noble bearing of Heracles that, on learning his 
errand, she at once consented to present him with the 
coveted girdle. But Hera, his implacable enemy, assum- 
ing the form of an Amazon, spread the report in the 
town that a stranger was about to carry off their queen. 
The Amazons at once flew to arms and mounted their 
horses, whereupon a battle ensued, in which many of 
their bravest warriors were killed or wounded. Among 
the latter was their most skilful leader, Melanippe, whom 
Heracles afterwards restored to Hippolyte, receiving the 
girdle in exchange. 

On his voyage home the hero stopped at Troy, where 
a new adventure awaited him. 

During the time that Apollo and Poseidon were con- 
demned by Zeus to a temporary servitude on earth, they 
built for king Laomedon the famous walls of Troy, 
afterwards so renowned in history; but when their work 
was completed the king treacherously refused to give 
them the reward due to them. The incensed deities 
now combined to punish the offender. Apollo sent a 
pestilence which decimated the people, and Poseidon a 
flood, which bore with it a marine monster, who 
SAvallowed in his huge jaws all that came within his 

In his distress Laomedon consulted an oracle, and was 
informed that only by the sacrifice of his own daughter 
Hesione could the anger of the gods be appeased. Yield- 
ing at length to the urgent appeals of his people he 
consented to make the sacrifice, and on the arrival of 
Heracles the maiden was already chained to a rock in 
readiness to be devoured by the monster. 

When Laomedon beheld the renowned hero, whose 
marvellous feats of strength and courage had become the 
wonder and admiration of all mankind, he earnestly im- 
plored him to save his daughter from her impending fate, 
and to rid the country of the monster, holding out to 
him as a reward the horses which Zeus had presented to 


his grandfather Tros in compensation for robbing him of 
his son Ganymede. 

Heracles unhesitatingly accepted the offer, and when 
the monster appeared, opening his terrible jaws to re- 
ceive his prey, the hero, sword in hand, attacked and 
slew him. But the perfidious monarch once more broke 
faith, and Heracles, vowing future vengeance, departed 
for Mycenae, where he presented the girdle to Eurystheus. 

1O. The Oxen of Gery ones. The tenth labour of 
Heracles was the capture of the magnificent oxen belong- 
ing to the giant Geryon or Geryones, who dwelt on the 
island of Erythia in the bay of Gadria (Cadiz). This 
giant, who was the son of Chrysaor, had three bodies 
with three heads, six hands, and six feet He possessed a 
herd of splendid cattle, which were famous for their size, 
beauty, and rich red colour. They were guarded by 
another giant named Eurytion, and a two-headed dog 
called Orthrus, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. 

In choosing for him a task so replete with danger, 
Eurystheus was in hopes that he might rid himself for 
ever of his hated cousin. But the indomitable courage 
of the hero rose with the prospect of this difficult and 
dangerous undertaking. 

After a long and wearisome journey he at last arrived 
at the western coast of Africa, where, as a monument 
of his perilous expedition, he erected the famous "Pillars 
of Hercules," one of which he placed on each side of the 
Straits of Gibraltar. Here he found the intense heat so 
insufferable that he angrily raised his bow towards 
heaven, and threatened to shoot the sun-god. But 
Helios, far from being incensed at his audacity, was so 
struck with admiration at his daring that he lent to 
him the golden boat with which he accomplished his 
nocturnal transit from West to East, and thus Heracles 
crossed over safely to the island of Erythia. 

No sooner had he landed than Eurytion, accompanied 
by his savage dog Orthrus, fiercely attacked him; but 
Heracles, with a superhuman effort, slew the dog and 


then his master. Hereupon he collected the herd, and 
was proceeding to the sea-shore when Geryones himself 
met him, and a desperate encounter took place, in which 
the giant perished. 

Heracles then drove the cattle into the sea, and seizing 
one of the oxen by the horns, swam with them over to 
the opposite coast of Iberia (Spain). Then driving his 
magnificent prize before him through Gaul, Italy, Illyria, 
and Thrace, he at length arrived, after many perilous 
adventures and hair-breadth escapes, at Mycenae, where 
he delivered them up to Eurystheus, who sacrificed them 
to Hera. 

Heracles had now executed his ten tasks, which had 
been accomplished in the space of eight years; but 
Eurystheus refused to include the slaying of the Hydra 
and the cleansing of the stables of Augeas among the 
number, alleging as a reason that the one had been per- 
formed by the assistance of lolaus, and that the other 
had been executed for hire. He therefore insisted on 
Heracles substituting two more labours in their place. 

11. The Apples of the Hesperides. The eleventh 
task imposed by Eurystheus was to bring him the golden 
apples of the Hesperides, which grew on a tree presented 
by Gsea to Hera, on the occasion of her marriage with 
Zeus. This sacred tree was guarded by four maidens, 
daughters of Night, called the Hesperides, who were 
assisted in their task by a terrible hundred-headed 
dragon. This dragon never slept, and out of its hundred 
throats came a constant hissing sound, which effectually 
warned off all intruders. But what rendered the under- 
taking still more difficult was the complete ignorance of 
the hero as to the locality of the garden, and he was 
forced, in consequence, to make many fruitless journeys 
and to undergo many trials before he could find it. 

He first travelled through Thessaly and arrived at the 
river Echedorus, where he met the giant Cycnus, the son 
of Ares and Pyrene, who challenged him to single com- 
bat. In this encounter Heracles completely vanquished 


his opponent, who was killed in the contest; but now a 
mightier adversary appeared on the scene, for the war- 
god himself came to avenge his son. A terrible struggle 
ensued, which had lasted some time, when Zeus inter- 
fered between the brothers, and put an end to the 
strife by hurling a thunderbolt between them. Heracles 
proceeded on his journey, and reached the banks of the 
river Eridanus, where dwelt the Xymphs, daughters of 
Zeus and Themis. On seeking advice from them as to his 
route, they directed him to the old sea-god Nereus, who 
alone knew the way to the Garden of the Hesperides. 
Heracles found him asleep, and seizing the opportunity, 
held him so firmly in his powerful grasp that he could 
not possibly escape, so that notwithstanding his various 
metamorphoses he was at last compelled to give the in- 
formation required. The hero then crossed over to 
Libya, where he engaged in a wrestling-match with king 
Anteos, son of Poseidon and Gaea, which terminated 
fatally for his antagonist 

From thence he proceeded to Egypt, where reigned 
Busiris, another son of Poseidon, who (acting on the 
advice given by an oracle during a time of great scarcity) 
sacrifice 1 all strangers to Zeus. When Heracles arrived 
he was seized and dragged to the altar; but the powerful 
demi-god burst asunder his bonds, and then slew Busiris 
and his son. 

Resuming his journey he now wandered on through 
Arabia until he arrived at Mount Caucasus, where Pro- 
metheus groaned in unceasing agony. It was at this 
time that Heracles (as already related) shot the eagle 
which had so long tortured the noble and devoted friend 
of mankind. Full of gratitude for his deliverance, Pro- 
metheus instructed him how to find his way to that 
remote region in the far West where Atlas supported 
the heavens on his shoulders, near which lay the Garden 
of the Hesperides. He also warned Heracles not to 
attempt to secure the precious fruit himself, but to 
assume for a time the duties of Atlas, and to despatch 
him for the apples. 



On arriving at his destination Heracles -followed the 
advice of Prometheus. Atlas, who willingly entered into 
the arrangement, contrived to put the dragon to sleep, 
and then, having cunningly outwitted the Hesperides, 
carried off three of the golden apples, which he now 
brought to Heracles. But when the latter was prepared 
to relinquish his burden, Atlas, having once tasted the 
delights of freedom, declined to resume his post, and 
announced his intention of being himself the bearer of 
the apples to Eurystheus, leaving Heracles to fill his 
place. To this proposal the hero feigned assent, merely 
begging that Atlas would be kind enough to support 
the heavens for a few moments whilst he contrived a pad 
for his head. Atlas good-naturedly threw down the 
apples and once more resumed his load, upon which 
Heracles bade him adieu, and departed. 

NVhen Heracles conveyed the golden apples to Eurys- 
theus the latter presented them to the hero, whereupon 
Heracles placed the sacred fruit on the altar of Pallas- 
Athene, who restored them to the garden of the Hesperides. 


Cerberus. The twelfth and last labour which 
Eurystheus imposed on Heracles 
was to bring up Cerberus from the 
loAver w r orld, believing that all his 
heroic powers would be unavailing 
in the Realm of Shades, and that 
in this, his last and most perilous 
undertaking, the hero must at 
length succumb and perish. 

Cerberus was a monster dog 
with three heads, out of whose 
awful jaws dripped poison; the 
hair of his head and back was 
formed of venomous snakes, and 
his body terminated in the tail of 
a dragon. 

After being initiated into the 
Eleusinian Mysteries, and obtain- 


ing from the priests certain information necessary for 
the accomplishment of his task, Heracles set out for 
Tsenarum in Lacolia, where there was an opening 
which led to the under-world. Conducted by Hermes, 
he commenced his descent into the awful gulf, where 
myriads of shades soon began to appear, all of whom 
fled in terror at his approach, Meleager and Medusa 
alone excepted. About to strike the latter with his 
sword, Hermes interfered and stayed his hand, remind- 
ing him that she was but a shadow, and that consequently 
no weapon could avail against her. 

Arrived before the gates of Hades he found Theseus 
and Pirithous, who had been fixed to an enchanted rock 
by Aides for their presumption in endeavouring to carry 
off Persephone. When they saw Heracles they implored 
him to set them free. The hero succeeded in delivering 
Theseus, but when he endeavoured to liberate Pirithous, 
the earth shook so violently beneath him that he was 
compelled to relinquish his task 

Proceeding further Heracles recognized Ascalaphus, 
who, as we have seen in the history of Demeter, had 
revealed the fact that Persephone had swallowed the 
seeds of a pomegranate offered to her by her husband, 
which bound her to Aides for ever. Ascalaphus was 
groaning beneath a huge rock which Demeter in her 
anger had hurled upon him, and which Heracles now 
removed, releasing the sufferer. 

Before the gates of his palace stood Aides the mighty 
ruler of the lower world, and barred his entrance ; but 
Heracles, aiming at him with one of his unerring darts, 
shot him in the shoulder, so that for the first time the 
god experienced the agony of mortal suffering. Heracles 
then demanded of him permission to take Cerberus to 
the upper-world, and to this Aides consented on con- 
dition that he should secure him unarmed. Protected 
by his breastplate and lion's skin Heracles went in 
search of the monster, whom he found at the mouth of 
the river Acheron. Undismayed by the hideous barking 
which proceeded from his three heads, he seized the 


throat with one hand and the legs with the other, and 
although the dragon which served him as a tail bit him 
severely, he did not relinquish his grasp. In this man- 
ner he conducted him to the upper-world, through an 
opening near Troezen in Argolia. 

When Eurystheus beheld Cerberus he stood aghast, 
and despairing of ever getting rid of his hated rival, he 
returned the hell-hound to the hero, who restored him 
to Ai'des, and with this last task the subjection of Hera- 
cles to Eurystheus terminated. 

Murder of Iphitus. Free at last Heracles now re- 
turned to Thebes; and it being impossible for him to 
live happily with Megara in consequence of his having 
murdered her children he, with her own consent, gave 
her in marriage to his nephew lolaus. Heracles himself 
sought the hand of lole, daughter of Eurytus, king of 
(Echalia, who had instructed him when a boy in the use 
of the bow. Hearing that this king had promised to 
give his daughter to him who could surpass himself and 
his three sons in shooting with the bow, Heracles lost no 
time in presenting himself as a competitor. He soon 
proved that he was no unworthy pupil of Eurytus, for 
he signally defeated all his opponents. But although 
the king treated him with marked respect and honour 
he refused, nevertheless, to give him the hand of his 
daughter, fearing for her a similar fate to that which had 
befallen Megara. Iphitus, the eldest son of Eurytus, 
alone espoused the cause of Heracles, and essayed to 
induce his father to give his consent to the marriage; 
but all to no purpose, and at length, stung to the quick 
at his rejection, the hero angrily took his depar- 

Soon afterwards the oxen of the king were stolen by 
the notorious thief Autolycus, and Heracles was suspected 
by Eurytus of having committed the theft. But Iphitus 
loyally defended his absent friend, and proposed to seek 
out Heracles, and with his assistance to go in search of 
the missing cattle. 


The hero warmly welcomed his staunch young friend, 
and entered cordially into his plan. They at once set 
out on their expedition; but their search proved alto- 
gether unsuccessful When they approached the city of 
Tiryns they mounted a tower in hopes of discovering the 
missing herd in the surrounding country; but as they 
stood on the topmost summit of the building, Heracles 
became suddenly seized with one of his former attacks 
of madness, and mistaking his friend Iphitus for an 
enemy, hurled him down into the plain below, and he 
was killed on the spot 

Heracles now set forth on a weary pilgrimage, begging 
in vain that some one would purify him from the murder 
of Iphitus. It was during these wanderings that he 
arrived at the palace of his friend Admetus, whose beau- 
tiful and heroic wife (Alcestes) he restored to her hus- 
band after a terrible struggle with Death, as already 

Soon after this event Heracles was struck with a 
fearful disease, and betook himself to the temple of 
Delphi, hoping to obtain from the oracle the means of 
relief. The priestess, however, refused him a response 
on the ground of his having murdered Iphitus, where- 
upon the angry hero seized upon the tripod, which he 
carried off, declaring that he would construct an oracle 
for himself. Apollo, who witnessed the sacrilege, came 
down to defend his sanctuary, and a violent struggle 
ensued. Zeus once more interfered, and, flashing his 
lightnings between his two favourite sons, ended the 
combat. The Pythia now vouchsafed an answer to the 
prayer of the hero, and commanded him, in expiation of 
his crime, to allow himself to be sold by Hermes for 
three years as a slave, the purchase-money to be given to 
Eurytus in compensation for the loss of his son. 

Heracles becomes the Slave of Omphale. Her- 
acles bowed in submission to the divine will, and was 
conducted by Hermes to Omphale, queen of Lj'dia. 
The three talents which she paid for him were given 


to Eurytus, who, however, declined to accept the 
money, which was handed over to the children of 

Heracles now regained his former vigour. He rid the 
territory of Omphale of the robbers which infested it, 
and performed for her various other services requiring 
strength and courage. It was about this time that he 
took part in the Calydonian boar-hunt, details of which 
have already been given. 

When Omphale learned that her slave was none other 
than the renowned Heracles himself she at once gave 
him his liberty, and offered him her hand and king- 
dom. In her palace Heracles abandoned himself to all 
the enervating luxuries of an oriental life, and so com- 
pletely was the great hero enthralled by the fascination 
which his mistress exercised over him, that whilst she 
playfully donned his lion's skin and helmet, he, attired 
in female garments, sat at her feet spinning wool, and 
beguiling the time by the relation of his past adventures. 

But when at length, his term of bondage having ex- 
pired, he became master of his own actions, the manly 
and energetic spirit of the hero reasserted itself, and tear- 
ing himself away from the palace of the Maeonian queen, 
he determined to carry out the revenge he had so long 
meditated against the treacherous Laomedon and the 
faithless Augeas. 

Heracles executes vengeance on Laomedon and 
Aug-eas. Gathering round him some of his old brave 
companions-in-arms, Heracles collected a fleet of vessels 
and set sail for Troy, where he landed, took the city by 
storm, and killed Laomedon, who thus met at length the 
retribution he had so richly deserved. 

To Telamon, one of his bravest followers, he gave 
Hesione, the daughter of the king, in marriage. When 
Heracles gave her permission to release one of the 
prisoners of war she chose her own brother Podarces, 
whereupon she was informed that as he was already a 
prisoner of war she would be compelled to ransom him. 


On hearing this Hesione took off her golden diadem, 
which she joyfully handed to the hero. Owing to this 
circumstance Podarces henceforth bore the name of 
Priamus (or Priam), which signifies the " ransomed one." 
Heracles now marched against Augeas to execute his 
vengeance on him also for his perfidious conduct. He 
stormed the city of Elis and put to death Augeas and his 
sons, sparing only his brave advocate and staunch de- 
fender Phyleus, on whom he bestowed the vacant throne 
of his father. 

Heracles and Deianeira. Heracles now proceeded 
to Calydon, where he wooed the beautiful Deianeira, 
daughter of (Eneus, king of ^Etolia; but he encoun- 
tered a formidable rival in Achelous, the river-god, and 
it was agreed that their claims should be decided by 
single combat. Trusting to his power of assuming various 
forms at will, Achelous felt confident of success; but this 
availed him nothing, for having at last transformed him- 
self into a bull, his mighty adversary broke off one of his 
horns, and compelled him to acknowledge himself de- 

After passing three happy years with Deianeira an 
unfortunate accident occurred, which for a time marred 
their felicity. Heracles was one day present at a banquet 
given by (Eneus, when, by a sudden swing of his hand, 
he had the misfortune to strike on the head a youth of 
noble birth, who, according to the custom of the ancients, 
was serving the guests at table, and so violent was the 
blow that it caused his death. The father of the unfor- 
tunate youth, who had witnessed the occurrence, saw 
that it was the result of accident, and therefore absolved 
the hero from b'ame. But Heracles resolved to act 
according to the law of the land, banished himself from 
the country, and bidding farewell to his father-in-law, 
set out for Trachin to visit his friend King Ceyx, taking 
with him his wife Deianeira, and his young son Hyllus. 

In the course of their journey they arrived at the river 
Evenus, over which the Centaur Nessus was in the habit 


of carrying travellers for hire. Heracles, with his little 
son in his arms, forded the stream unaided, intrusting 
his wife to the care of the Centaur, who, chaimed with 
the beauty of his fair burden, attempted to carry her off. 
But her cries were heard by her husband, who without 
hesitation shot Nessus through the heart with one of his 
poisoned arrows. Now the dying Centaur was thirsting 
for revenge. He called Deianeira to his side, and directed 
her to secure some of the blood which flowed from his 
wound, assuring her that if, when in danger of losing her 
husband's affection, she used it in the manner indicated by 
him, it would act as a charm, and prevent her from being 
supplanted by a rival. Heracles and Deianeira now pur- 
sued their journey, and after several adventures at length 
arrived at their destination. 

Death of Heracles. The last expedition undertaken 
by the great hero was against Eurytus, king of CEchalia, 
to revenge himself upon this king and his sons for having 
refused to bestow upon him the hand of lole, after having 
fairly won the maiden. Having collected a large army 
Heracles set out for Euboea in order to besiege (Echalia, 
its capital. Success crowned his arms. He stormed the 
citadel, slew the king and his three sons, reduced the 
town to ashes, and carried away captive the young and 
beautiful lole. 

Keturning from his victorious expedition, Heracles 
halted at Cenoeus in order to offer a sacrifice to Zeus, 
and sent to Deianeira to Trachin for a sacrificial robe. 
Deianeira having been informed that the fair lole was 
in the train of Heracles was fearful lest her youthful 
charms might supplant her in the affection of her hus- 
band, and calling to mind the advice of the dying Cen- 
taur, she determined to test the efficacy of the love-charm 
which he had given to her. Taking out the phial which 
she had carefully preserved, she imbued the robe with a 
portion of the liquid which it contained, and then sent 
it to Heracles. 

The victorious hero clothed himself with the garment, 


and was about to perform the sacrifice, when the hot flames 
rising from the altar heated the poison with which it was 
imbued, and soon every fibre of his body was penetrated 
by the deadly venom. The unfortunate hero, suffering 
the most fearful tortures, endeavoured to tear off the 
robe, but it adhered so closely to the skin that all his 
efforts to remove it only increased his agonies. 

In this pitiable condition he was conveyed to Trachin, 
where Deianeira, on beholding the terrible suffering of 
which she was the innocent cause, was overcome with 
grief and remorse, and hanged herself in despair. T}he 
dying hero called his son Hyllus to his side, and desired 
him to make lole his wife, and then ordering his followers 
to erect a funeral pyre, he mounted it and implored the 
by-standers to set fire to it, and thus in mercy to ter- 
minate his insufferable torments. But no one had the 
courage to obey him, until at last his friend and com- 
panion Philoctetes, yielding to his piteous appeal, lighted 
the pile, and received in return the bow and arrows of 
the hero. 

Soon flames on flames ascended, and amidst vivid 
flashes of lightning, accompanied by awful peals of 
thunder, Pallas-Athene descended in a cloud, and bore 
her favourite hero in a chariot to Olympus. 

Heracles became admitted among the immortals; and 
Hera, in token of her reconciliation, bestowed upon him 
the hand of her beautiful daughter Hebe, the goddess 
of eternal youth. 


Bellerophon, or Bellerophontes, was the son of Glaucus, 
king of Corinth, and grandson of Sisyphus. In conse- 
quence of an unpremeditated murder Bellerophon fled to 
Tiryns, where he was kindly received by King Prcetus, 
who purified him from his crime. An tea, the wife of 
Prcetus, was so charmed with the comely youth that she 
fell in love with him; but Bellerophon did not return 
her affection, and she, in revenge, slandered him to the 
king by a gross misrepresentation of the facts. 


The first impulse of Proetus, when informed of the 
conduct of Bellerophon, was to kill him; but the youth, 
with his gentle and winning manners, had so endeared 
himself to his host that he felt it impossible to take his 
life with his own hands. He therefore sent him to his 
father-in-law, lobates, king of Lycia, with a kind of letter 
or tablet which contained mysterious signs, indicating his 
desire that the bearer of the missive should be put to 
death. But the gods watched over the true and loyal 
youth, and inclined the heart of lobates, who was an ami- 
able prince, towards his guest. Judging by his appearance 
that he was of noble birth, he entertained him, according 
to the hospitable custom of the Greeks, in the most 
princely manner for nine days, and not until the morn- 
ing of the tenth did he inquire his name and errand. 

Bellerophon now presented to him the letter intrusted 
to him by Proetus. lobates, who had become greatly 
attached to the youth, was horror-struck at its contents. 
Nevertheless he concluded that Proetus must have good 
reasons for his conduct, and that probably Bellerophon 
had committed a crime which deserved death. But as he 
could not make up his mind to murder the guest he had 

grown to esteem, he 
decided to despatch him 
upon dangerous enter- 
prises, in which he 
would in all probability 
lose his life. 

He first sent him to 
kill the Chimsera, a 

monster which was at this time devastating the country. 
The fore part of its body was that of a lion, the centre 
of a goat, and the hind part of a dragon; whilst out of 
jaws issued flames of fire. 

Before starting on this difficult task Bellerophon in- 
" ed the protection of the gods, and in answer to his 
prayer they despatched to his aid the immortal-winged 
horse Pegasus, the offspring of Poseidon and Medusa. 
But the divine animal would not suffer himself to be 

(73) K 


caught, and at last, worn out with his fruitless exertions, 
Bellerophon fell into a deep sleep beside the sacred spring 
Pirene. Here Pallas- Athene appeared to him in a dream, 
and presented him with a magic bridle for the purpose 
of capturing the divine steed. On awaking Bellerophon 
instinctively put out his hand to grasp it, when, to his 
amazement, there lay beside him the bridle of his dream, 
whilst Pegasus was quietly drinking at the fountain 
close by. Seizing him by the mane Bellerophon threw 
the bridle over his head, 
an( ^ succeeded in mount- 
ing him without further 
difficulty; then rising with 
him into the air he slew 
the Chimaera with his 


lobates next sent him on 
an expedition against the 
Solymans, a fierce neigh- 
bouring tribe with whom 
he was at enmity. Bel- 
lerophon succeeded in van- 
quishing them, and was then despatched against the 
much-dreaded Amazons; but greatly to the astonishment 
of lobates the hero again returned victorious. 

Finally, lobates placed a number of the bravest Lycians 
in ambush for the purpose of destroying him, but not one 
returned alive, for Bellerophon bravely defended himself 
and slew them all. Convinced at length that Bellerophon, 
far from deserving death, was the special favourite of the 
gods, who had evidently protected him throughout his 
perilous exploits, the king now ceased his persecutions. 

lobates admitted him to a share in the government, 
and gave him his daughter in marriage. But Bellerophon 
having attained the summit of earthly prosperity became 
intoxicated with pride and vanity, and incurred the dis- 
pleasure of the gods by endeavouring to mount to heaven 
on his winged horse, for the purpose of gratifying his idle 
curiosity. Zeus punished him for his impiety by sending 

a gadfly to sting the horse, who became so restive that 
he threw his rider, who was precipitated to the earth. 
Filled with remorse at having offended the gods Bellero- 
phon fell a prey to the deepest melancholy, and wandered 
about for the remainder of his life in the loneliest and 
most desolate places. 

After death he was honoured in Corinth as a hero, and 
an altar was erected to him in the grove of Poseidon. 


Aegeus, king of Athens, being twice married, and 
having no children, was so desirous of an heir to his 
throne that he made a pilgrimage to Delphi in order to 
consult the oracle. But the response being ambiguous, 
he repaired to Troezen to consult his wise friend Pittheus, 
who reigned over that city, by whose advice he contracted 
a secret marriage with his friend's daughter Aethra. 

After passing some time with his bride, Aegeus pre- 
pared to take his departure for his own dominions; but 
before doing so he led Aethra to the sea-shore, where, 
after depositing his sword and sandals under a huge rock, 
he thus addressed her: "Should the gods bless our union 
with a son, do not reveal to him the name and rank of 
his father until he is old enough to possess the strength 
requisite for moving this stone. Then send him to my 
palace at Athens bearing these tokens of his identity." 

A son was born to Aethra, whom she called Theseus, 
and who was carefully trained and educated by his 
grandfather Pittheus. When he had developed into a 
strong and manly youth his mother conducted him to 
the spot where the rock had been placed by Aegeus, and 
at her command he rolled away the stone, and took 
possession of the sword and sandals which had lain there 
for sixteen years, and which she now desired him to con- 
vey to his father Aegeus, king of Athens. 

His mother and grandfather were anxious that the 
youth should travel by the safe sea route, the road 
between Troezen and Athens being at this tune infested 


with robbers of great ferocity and enormous strength. 
But feeling within himself the spirit of a hero, Theseus 
resolved to emulate the deeds of Heracles, with whose 
fame all Greece resounded, and therefore chose the more 
dangerous journey by land, as calculated to afford him 
an opportunity of distinguishing himself by feats of 

His first adventure occurred at Epidaurus, where he 
met Periphetes, a son of Hephaestus, who was armed 
with an iron club, with which he killed all travellers. 
Having received from his grandfather a full description 
of this savage, Theseus at once recognized him, and rush- 
ing upon him with his sword, succeeded after a desperate 
encounter in killing him. He appropriated the club as a 
trophy of his victory, and proceeded on his journey with- 
out hinderance until he arrived at the Isthmus of Corinth. 

Here the people warned him to beware of Sinnis the 
robber, who forced all travellers to bend with him one 
of the branches of a tall pine-tree. Having dragged it 
to the ground, the cruel Sinnis suddenly released his 
hold, whereupon the bough rebounding high up into the 
air, the unfortunate victim was dashed to the ground and 
killed. When Theseus beheld Sinnis advancing towards 
him he steadily awaited his approach; then seizing his 
powerful yfcklb, he killed the inhuman wretch with one 
blow. ^#S 

Passmg through the woody district of Crommyon 
Theseus next slew a wild and dangerous sow which had 
long ravaged the country. 

He then continued his journey and approached the bor- 
ders of Megara, where, on a narrow path overhanging the 
sea, dwelt the wicked Scyron, another terror to travellers. 
It was his custom to compel all strangers who passed 
his abode to wash his feet, during which operation he 
kicked them over the rock into the sea. Theseus boldly 
attacked the giant, overcame him, and then flung his 
body over the cliff where so many of his victims had 

Theseus now journeyed on to Eleusis, where he found 


another adversary in the person of King Cercyon, who 
forced all comers to wrestle with him, and killed those 
whom he vanquished; but Theseus overcame the mighty 
wrestler and slew him. 

Near Eleusis, on the banks of the river Cephissus, 
Theseus met with a new adventure. Here lived the 
giant Damastes, called Procrustes or the Stretcher, who 
had two iron beds, one being long and the other short, 
into which he forced all strangers. In the short one he 
placed the tall men, whose limbs he cut to the size of 
the bed, whilst to the short ones he assigned the large 
bed, stretching them out to fit it; and thus he left his 
victims to expire in the most cruel torments. Theseus 
freed the country from this inhuman monster by serving 
him as he had done his unfortunate victims. 

The hero now continued his journey, and at length 
reached Athens without meeting with any further adven- 
tures. When he arrived at his destination he found his 
father a helpless tool in the hands of the sorceress Medea, 
whom he had married after her departure from Corinth. 
Knowing, by means of her supernatural powers, that 
Theseus was the king's son, and fearing that her in- 
fluence might be weakened by his presence, she poisoned 
the mind of the old king against the stranger, whom she 
represented as being a spy. It was accordingly arranged 
that Theseus should be invited to a banquet, and a strong 
poison mixed with his wine. 

Now Theseus had resolved to reveal himself at this 
feast to the father whom he yearned to embrace. Before 
tasting the wine he put his plan into execution, and drew 
out his sword so that the eyes of the king might rest 
upon it. When Aegeus beheld once more the well-known 
weapon which he had so often wielded, he knew that it 
was his son who stood before him. He warmly embraced 
him, presented him as his heir to his courtiers and sub- 
jects, and then, no longer able to endure the sight of 
Medea, he banished her for ever from his dominions. 

When Theseus was acknowledged as the rightful heir 
to the throne he was opposed by the fifty sons of Pallas, 


the king's brother, who had confidently expected that on 
the demise of the old king the government of the country 
would devolve upon them. They therefore resolved to 
put Theseus to death; but their plans becoming known 
to him, he surprised them as they lay in ambush awaiting 
his approach, and destroyed them all. 

Fearing, however, lest the Athenians might entertain a 
prejudice against him on account of his extermination of 
their fellow-citizens, the Pallantids, Theseus resolved to 
perform some signal service for the state, which should 
gain for him the hearts of the people. He accordingly 
decided to rid the country of the famous bull of Marathon, 
which had become a terror to the cultivators of the land. 
He captured the animal and brought him in chains to 
Athens, where, after publicly exhibiting him to the aston- 
ished multitude, he solemnly sacrificed him to Apollo. 

The next enterprise undertaken by Theseus far sur- 
passed all his other feats of heroic daring, and secured 
to him the universal admiration and gratitude of his 
fellow-citizens. This was the slaying of the Minotaur, 
which put an end for ever to the shameful tribute of 
seven youths and seven maidens which was exacted 
from the Athenians every nine years. 

The origin of this barbarous tribute was as follows: 
Androgeos, the youthful son of Minos, king of Crete, 
having been treacherously murdered by the Athenians, 
his father, anxious to avenge the death of his son, 
declared war against their king Aegeus, and conquered 
Athens and the villages in its vicinity. The conqueror 
henceforth compelled the Athenians to send to him every 
nine years a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens 
of the noblest families of the land, who became the prey 
of the Minotaur, a monster, half-man, half-bull, whose 
lair was in the wonderful labyrinth, constructed by 
Daedalus for the Cretan king. 

When Theseus informed his father of his heroic 
determination, he was overwhelmed with grief, and en- 
deavoured, by every means in his power, to shake his son's 
resolution, but, confident of success, Theseus assured his 

father that he would slay the Minotaur and return home 

It was customary for the vessel bearing its unhappy 
freight of human victims to use on this voyage black 
sails only; but Theseus promised his father that, should 
he return in safety, he would hoist white ones in their 

Before leaving Athens Theseus, by the advice of an 
oracle, chose Aphrodite as his guardian and protectress, 
and accordingly offered up a sacrifice to her. When he 
arrived in the presence of king Minos, the goddess of 
Love inspired Ariadne, the beautiful daughter of the 
king, with an ardent attachment for the noble young 
hero. During a secret interview, in which a mutual 
confession of affection took place, Ariadne furnished him 
with a sharp sword and a clue of thread, the end of 
which she desired him to fasten at the entrance to the 
labyrinth and to continue to unwind it till he reached 
the lair of the Minotaur. Full of hope as to the 
successful issue of his undertaking, Theseus took leave 
of the kind maiden, after expressing his gratitude for 
her timely aid. 

At the head of his companions he was now conducted 
by Minos to the entrance of the labyrinth. Strictly 
adhering to the injunctions of the fair Ariadne he suc- 
ceeded in finding the Minotaur, whom, after a fierce and 
violent struggle, he defeated and killed; then carefully 
feeling his way, by means of the clue of thread, he led 
his companions safely out of the labyrinth. They then 
fled to their ship, taking with them the lovely maiden^to 
whose affection for their deliverer they owed their safety. 

Arrived at the island of Naxos, Theseus had a dream, 
in which Dionysus, the wine-god, appeared to him, and 
informed him that the Fates had decreed that Ariadne 
should be his bride, at the same time menacing the hero 
with all kinds of misfortunes should he refuse to resign 
her. Now Theseus, having been taught from his youth 
to reverence the gods, feared to disobey the wishes of 
Dionysus. He accordingly took a sad farewell of the 


beautiful maiden who so tenderly loved him, and left her 
on the lonely island, where she was found and wooed by 
the wine-god. 

Theseus and his companions felt keenly the loss of 
their benefactress, and in their grief at parting with her, 
forgot that the ship still bore the black sails with which 
she had left the Attic coast. As she neared the port of 
Athens, Aegeus, who was anxiously awaiting the return 
of his son on the beach, caught sight of the vessel with 
its black sails, and concluding that his gallant son had 
perished, threw himself in despair into the sea. 

With the unanimous approval of the Athenians. 
Theseus now ascended the vacant throne, and soon 
proved himself to be not only a valiant hero but also a 
wise prince and prudent legislator. Athens was at this 
time but a small city surrounded by a number of villages, 
each of which possessed its own separate form of govern- 
ment; but by means of kind and conciliatory measures 
Theseus induced the heads of these different communities 
to resign their sovereignty, and to intrust the administra- 
tion of public affairs to a court which should sit constantly 
at Athens, and exercise jurisdiction over all the inhabi- 
tants of Attica. The result of these judicious measures 
was, that the Athenians became a united and powerful 
people, and that numbers of strangers and foreigners 
flocked to Athens, which became a flourishing maritime 
port and a commercial centre of great importance. 

Theseus renewed the Isthmian Games, and also insti- 
tuted numerous festivals, the principal of which was the 
Panathensea, held in honour of Athene-Polias. 

It is related that Theseus upon one occasion arrived 
during a voyage at the Amazonian coast. Anxious to 
ascertain the object of his visit, the Amazons sent Hippo- 
lyte, one of their number, with presents to the stranger; 
but no sooner did the fair herald set foot on board his 
vessel than Theseus set sail and carried her off to 
Athens, where he made her his queen. Enraged at this 
indignity the Amazons determined to be revenged. 
Some time afterwards, when the whole affair would 

appear to have been forgotten, they seized the opportu- 
nity when the city of Athens was in a defenceless con- 
dition and landed an army 
in Attica. So sudden was 
their attack that they had 
penetrated into the very 
heart of the city before the 
Athenians could organize 
their forces; but Theseus 
expeditiously collected his 
troops and commenced such 
a furious onslaught upon 
the invaders that, after a 
desperate encounter, they 
were driven from the city. 
Peace was then concluded, 
whereupon the Amazons 
evacuated the country. Bur- 
ing this engagement Hippolyte, forgetful of her origin, 
fought valiantly by the side of her husband against her 
own kinsfolk, and perished on the field of battle. 

It was soon after this sad event that Theseus joined 
the world-renowned Calydonian Boar-hunt, in which he 
took a leading part. He also formed one of the brave 
band who shared in the perils of the Argonautic expedi- 

The remarkable friendship which existed between The- 
seus and Pirithous originated under such peculiar circum- 
stances that it is worthy of mention. 

Hearing upon one occasion that his herds, pasturing 
in the plains of Marathon, had been carried off by Piri- 
thous, Theseus collected together an armed force and 
sallied forth to punish the plunderer. But, when the 
two heroes met face to face, both were seized with 
an impulse of sympathetic admiration for each other. 
Pirithous, holding out his hand in token of peace, 
exclaimed, " What satisfaction shall I render thee, oh 
Theseus? Be thou thyself the judge." Theseus seized 
the proffered hand and replied, " I ask nought save thy 


friendship;" whereupon the heroes embraced each other 
and swore eternal fidelity. 

When, soon afterwards, Pirithous became united to 
Hippodamia, a Thessalian princess, he invitea Theseus to 
the wedding-feast, which was also attended, among other 
guests, by a large number of Centaurs, who were friends 
of Pirithous. Towards the end of the banquet Eurytion, 
a young Centaur, heated and flushed with wine, seized 
the lovely bride and sought by force to carry her off 
The other Centaurs, following his example, each endeav- 
oured to capture a maiden. Pirithous and his followers, 
aided by Theseus, who rendered most valuable assist- 
ance, attacked the Centaurs, and after a violent hand- 
to-hand struggle in which many perished, forced them 
to relinquish their prey. 

After the death of Hippolyte Theseus sought the 
hand of Phaedra, the sister of his former bride Ariadne, 
to whom he became united. For some years they lived 
happily together, and their union was blessed by the 
birth of two sons. During this time Hippolytus, the son 
of the Amazonian queen, had been absent from home, 
having been placed under the care of the king's uncles 
in order to be educated. When, having grown to man- 
hood, he now returned to his father's palace, his young 
stepmother, Phaedra, fell violently in love with him; but 
Hippolytus failed to return her affection, and treated her 
with contempt and indifference. Filled with rage and 
despair at his coldness Phaedra put an end to her ex- 
istence; and when she was discovered by her husband 
she held in her hand a letter, accusing Hippolytus of 
being the cause of her death, and of having conspired 
against the honour of the king. 

Now Poseidon had upon one occasion promised to 
grant Theseus whatever request he should demand; he 
therefore called upon the sea-god to destroy Hippolytus, 
whoin he cursed in the most solemn manner. The 
father's awful malediction fell but too soon upon his 
innocent son; for, as the latter was driving his chariot 
along the sea-shore, between Troezen and Athens, a 


monster, sent by Poseidon, rose out of the deep, and so 
frightened the horses that they became altogether un- 
manageable. As they rushed on in their mad career 
the chariot was dashed to pieces, and the unfortunate 
youth, whose feet had become entangled in the reins, 
was dragged along until life was nearly extinct. 

In this condition he was found by the unhappy Theseus, 
who, having ascertained the true facts of the case from 
an old servant of Phaedra, had hastened to prevent the 
catastrophe. But he arrived to/) late, and was only able 
to soothe the last moments of his dying son by acknow- 
ledging the sad mistake which he had committed, and 
declaring his firm belief in his honour and innocence. 

After these events Theseus was persuaded by his 
friend Pirithous, who had also about this time lost his 
young wife, Hippodamia, to join him in a journey 
through Greece, with the object of carrying off by force 
the most beautiful maidens whom they should chance 
to meet. 

Arrived at Sparta they beheld, in the temple of 
Artemis, Helen, the daughter of Zeus and Leda, who was 
engaged in performing sacred dances in honour of the 
goddess. Although the maiden was only nine years old 
the fame of her beauty, which was destined to play so 
important a part in the history of Greece, had already 
spread far and wide. Theseus and Pirithous forcibly 
abducted her, and then having cast lots for her, she fell 
to Theseus, who placed her under the charge of his 
mother ^thra. 

Pirithous now requested Theseus to assist him in his 
ambitious scheme of descending to the lower world and 
carrying off Persephone, the queen of Hades. Though 
fully alive to the perils of the undertaking Theseus 
would not forsake his friend, and together they sought 
the gloomy realm of Shades. But Aides had been fore- 
warned of their approach, and scarcely had the two 
friends set foot within his dominions when, by his orders, 
they were seized, bound with chains, and secured to an 
enchanted rock at the entrance of Hades. Here the two 


friends languished for many years, until Heracles passed 
by in his search for Cerberus, when he released Theseus; 
but in obedience to an injunction of the gods, left Piri- 
thous to endure for ever the punishment of his too daring 

While Theseus was imprisoned in the under world 
Castor and Pollux, the brothers of Helen, invaded 
Athens, and demanded the restoration of their young 
sister. Seeing his country threatened with the horrors 
of warfare, an Athenian citizen named Academus, who 
knew of Helen's place of concealment, repaired to the 
camp of the Dioscuri, and informed them where they would 
find her. ^Ethra at once resigned her charge, where- 
upon the brothers took leave of Athens, and, accompanied 
by Helen, returned to their native country. 

But the prolonged absence of Theseus gave rise to 
other troubles of a more serious character. Thinking the 
opportunity favourable for a revolt, a faction, headed by 
Menesthius, a descendant of Erechtheus, arrogated to 
themselves supreme power, and seized the reins of govern- 

Returned to Athens, Theseus at once took active mea- 
sures to quell the insubordination which existed on all 
sides. He expelled Menesthius from office, rigorously 
punished the ringleaders of the revolt, and placed him- 
self once more upon the throne. But his hold upon the 
people was gone.. His former services were all forgotten, 
and, finding at length that dissensions and revolts were 
rife, he voluntarily abdicated the throne, and retired to his 
estates in the island of Scyros. Here Lycomedes, king 
of the island, feigned to receive him with the utmost 
friendship; but being, as it is supposed, in league with 
Menesthius, he led the old king to the summit of a high 
rock, under pretence of showing him his estates, and 
treacherously killed him by pushing him over the cliff. 

Many centuries after his death, by the command of 
the oracle of Delphi, Cimon, the father of Miltiades, at 
the conclusion of the Persian war, brought the remains 
of Theseus, the great benefactor of Athens, to that city, 

and in his honour a temple was erected, which exists to 
the present day, and serves as a museum of art 


Laius, king of Thebes, the son of Labdacus, and a direct 
descendant of Cadmus, was married to Jocaste, the daughter 
of a noble Theban. An oracle having foretold that he 
would perish by the hand of his own son, he determined 
to destroy the infant to whom Jocaste had just given 
birth. With the consent of his wife, whose affection for 
her husband overcame her love for her child, he pierced the 
feet of the babe, bound them together, and handed the 
infant over to a servant, with instructions to expose him on 
Mount Citha?ron to perish. But instead of obeying this 
cruel command, the servant intrusted him to a shepherd 
who was tending the flocks of Polybus, king of Corinth, 
and then returned to Laius and Jocaste, and informed 
them that their orders had been obeyed. The parents 
were satisfied with the intelligence, and quieted their 
conscience by the reflection that they had thus prevented 
their son from committing the crime of parricide. 

Meanwhile the shepherd of king Polybus had unbound 
the feet of the infant, and in consequence of their being 
much swollen he called him (Edipus, or Swollen-foot. 
He then carried him to the king, his master, who, 
pitying the poor little waif, enlisted for him the kind 
offices of his wife, Merope. (Edipus was adopted by the 
king and queen as their own son, and grew up in the 
belief that they were his parents, until one day a Corinthian 
noble taunted him at a banquet with not being the son of 
the king. Stung at this reproach the youth appealed 
to Merope, but receiving an equivocal, though kindly 
answer, he repaired to Delphi to consult the oracle. The 
Pythia vouchsafed no reply to his inquiry, but informed 
him, to his horror, that he was fated to kill his father and 
to marry his own mother. 

Filled with dismay, for he was tenderly attached to 
Polybus and Merope, (Edipus determined not to return 


to Corinth, and took instead the road leading to Boeotia. 
On his way a chariot passed him, in which sat an old 
man with two servants, who rudely pushed the pedestrian 
out of the path. In the scuffle which ensued (Edipus 
struck the old man with his heavy stick, and he fell back 
dead on the seat of the chariot. Struck with dismay at 
the unpremeditated murder which he had committed, the 
youth fled, and left the spot without learning that the 
old man whom he had killed was his father, Laius, king 
of Thebes. 

Not long after this occurrence the Sphinx (full details 
of whom have already been given) was sent by the god- 
dess Hera as a punishment to the Thebans. Stationed 
on a rocky height just outside the city, she propounded 
to the passers by riddles which she had been taught by 
the Muses, and whoever failed to solve them was torn 
in pieces and devoured by the monster, and in this 
manner great numbars of tb.3 inhabitants of Thebes had 

Now on the death of the old king Laius, Creon, the 
brother of the widowed queen, had seized the reins of 
government and mounted the vacant throne; and when 
at length his own son fell a victim to the Sphinx, he 
resolved at all costs to rid the country of this fearful 
scourge. He accordingly issued a proclamation, that the 
kingdom and the hand of his sister Jocaste should be 
awarded to him who should succeed in solving one of the 
riddles of the Sphinx, it having been foretold by an 
oracle that only then would the country be freed from 
the monster. 

Just as this proclamation was being made in the 
streets of Thebes (Edipus, with his pilgrim's staff in his 
hand, entered the city. Tempted by the prospect of so 
magnificent a reward he repaired to the rock, and boldly 
requested the Sphinx to propound to him one of her 
riddles. She proposed to him one which she deemed 
impossible of solution, but (Edipus at once solved it; 
whereupon the Sphinx, full of rage and despair, precipi- 
tated herself into the abyss and perished. (Edipus 


received the promised reward. He became king of 
Thebes and the husband of Jocaste, the widow of his 
father, king Laius. 

For many years CEdipus enjoyed the greatest happiness 
and tranquillity. Four children were born to him two 
sons, Eteocles and Polynices, and two daughters, Antigone 
and Ismene. But at last the gods afflicted the country 
with a grievous pestilence, which made terrible havoc 
among the people. In their distress they entreated the 
help of the king, who was regarded by his subjects as a 
special favourite of the gods. CEdipus consulted an oracle, 
and the response was that the pestilence would continue 
to rage until the land was purified of the blood of king 
Laius, whose murderer was living unpunished at Thebes. 

The king now invoked the most solemn imprecations 
on the head of the murderer, and offered a reward for 
any information concerning him. He then sent for the 
blind old seer Tiresias, and implored him, by means of 
his prophetic powers, to reveal to him the author of the 
crime. Tiresias at first hesitated, but yielding to the 
earnest solicitations of the king, the old prophet thus 
addressed him : " Thou thyself art the murderer of the old 
king Laius, Avho was thy father; and thou art wedded 
to his widow, thine own mother." In order to convince 
CEdipus of the truth of his words, he brought forward the 
old servant who had exposed him as a babe on Mount 
Cithseron, and the shepherd who had conveyed him to 
king Polybus. Horrified at this awful revelation CEdipus, 
in a fit of despair, deprived himself of sight, and the un- 
fortunate Jocaste, unable to survive her disgrace, hanged 

Accompanied by his faithful and devoted daughter 
Antigone, CEdipus quitted Thebes and became a miser- 
able and homeless outcast, begging his bread from place 
to place. At length, after a long and painful pilgrimage, 
he found a place of refuge in the grove of the Eumenides 
(at Colonus, near Athens), where his last moments were 
soothed and tended by the care and devotion of the faith- 
ful Antigone. 



After the voluntary abdication of (Edipus, his two sons, 
Eteocles and Polynices, took possession of the crown and 
reigned over the city of Thebes. But Eteocles, being an 
ambitious prince, soon seized the reins of government him- 
self, and expelled his brother from the throne. 

Polynices now repaired to Argos, where he arrived in 
the dead of night. Outside the gates of the royal palace 
he encountered Tydeus, the son of (Eneus, king of Caly- 
don. Having accidentally killed a relative in the chase, 
Tydeus was also a fugitive; but being mistaken by Poly- 
nices in the darkness for an enemy, a quarrel ensued, 
which might have ended fatally, had not king Adrastus, 
aroused by the clamour, appeared on the scene and 
parted the combatants. 

By the light of the torches borne by his attendants 
Adrastus observed, to his surprise, that on the shield of 
Polynices a lion was depicted, and on that of Tydeus a 
boar. The former bore this insignia in honour of the 
renowned hero Heracles, the latter in memory of the 
famous Calydonian boar-hunt. This circumstance re- 
minded the king of an extraordinary oracular prediction 
concerning his two beautiful daughters, Argia and Dei- 
pyle, which was to the effect that he would give them in 
marriage to a lion and a boar. Hailing with delight 
what he regarded as an auspicious solution of the mys- 
terious prophecy, he invited the strangers into his palace; 
and when he heard their history, and had convinced 
himself that they were of noble birth, he bestowed upon 
Polynices his beautiful daughter Argia, and upon Tydeus 
the fair Deipyle, promising at the same time that he 
would assist both his sons-in-law to regain their rightful 

The first care of Adrastus was to aid Polynices in 
regaining possession of his lawful share in the govern- 
ment of Thebes. He accordingly invited the most 
powerful chiefs in his kingdom to join in the expedition, 


all of whom readily obeyed the call with the exception 
of the king's brother-in-law, Amphiaraus, the seer. As 
he foresaw a disastrous termination to the enterprise, and 
knew that not one of the heroes, save Adrastus himself, 
would return alive, he earnestly dissuaded the king from 
carrying out his project, and declined to take any part in 
the undertaking. But Adrastus, seconded by Polynices 
and Tydeus, was obstinately bent on the achievement of 
his purpose, and Amphiaraus, in order to escape from 
their importunities, concealed himself in a hiding-place 
known only to his wife Eriphyle. 

Now on the occasion of the marriage of Amphiaraus 
it had been agreed, that if he ever differed in opinion 
with the king, his wife should decide the question. 
As the presence of Amphiaraus was indispensable to 
the success of the undertaking, and, moreover, as Adras- 
tus would not enter upon it without "the eye of the 
army," as he called his brother-in-law, Polynices, bent on 
securing his services, determined to bribe Eriphyle to 
use her influence with her husband and to decide the 
question in accordance with his wishes. He bethought 
himself of the beautiful necklace of Harmonia, wife of 
Cadmus, which he had brought with him in his flight 
from Thebes. Without loss of time he presented himself 
before the wife of Amphiaraus, and held up to her admir- 
ing gaze the glittering bauble, promising that if she 
revealed the hiding-place of her husband and induced 
him to join the expedition, the necklace should be hers. 
Eriphyle, unable to withstand the tempting bait, ac- 
cepted the bribe, and thus Amphiaraus was compelled to 
join the army. But before leaving his home he extorted 
a solemn promise from his son Alcmseon that, should he 
perish on the field of battle, he would avenge his death 
on his mother, the perfidious Eriphyle. 

Seven leaders were now chosen, each at the head of a 
separate detachment of troops. These were Adrastus 
the king, his two brothers Hippomedon and Partheno- 
pseus, Capaneus his nephew, Polynices and Tydeus, and 
Amphiaraus. 'Wl 

(73) S 


When the army was collected they set out for Nemea, 
which was at this time governed by king Lycurgus. 
Here the Argives, being short of water, halted on the 
outskirts of a forest in order to search for a spring, when 
they saw a majestic and beautiful woman seated on the 
trunk of a tree, nursing an infant. They concluded from 
her noble and queenly appearance that she must be a 
goddess, but were informed by her that she was Hypsi- 
pile, queen of the Lemnians, who had been carried away 
captive by pirates, and sold as a slave to king Lycurgus, 
and that she was now acting as nurse to his infant son. 
When the warriors told her that they were in search of 
water, she laid the child down in the grass, and led them 
to a secret spring in the forest, with which she alone was 
acquainted. But on their return they found, to their 
grief, that the unfortunate babe had been killed during 
their absence, by a serpent. They slew the reptile, and 
then collecting the remains of the infant, they buried 
them with funereal honours and proceeded on their way. 

The warlike host now appeared before the walls of 
Thebes, and each leader placed himself before one of 
the seven gates of the city in readiness for the attack. 
Eteocles, in conjunction with Creon, had made due 
preparations to repel the invaders, and had stationed 
troops, under the command of trusty leaders, to guard 
each of the gates. Then, according to the practice of the 
ancients of consulting soothsayers before entering upon 
any undertaking, the blind old seer Tiresias was sent for, 
who, after carefully taking the auguries from the flight 
of birds, declared that all efforts to defend the city would 
prove unavailing, unless the youngest descendant of the 
house of Cadmus would offer himself as a voluntary 
sacrifice for the good of the state. 

When Creon heard the words of the seer his first 
thought was of his favourite son Menceceus, the youngest 
scion of the royal house, who was present at the inter- 
view. He therefore earnestly implored him to leave the 
city, and to repair for safety to Delphi. But the gallant 
youth heroically resolved to sacrifice his life for the 


benefit of his country, and after taking leave of his old 
father, mounted the city walls, and plunging a dagger 
into his heart, perished in the sight of the contending 

Adrastus now gave his troops the word of command to 
storm the city, and they rushed forward to the attack 
with great valour. The battle raged long and furiously, 
and after heavy losses on both sides the Argives were 
routed and put to flight. 

After the lapse of some days they reorganized their 
forces, and again appeared before the gates of Thebes, 
when Eteocles, grieved to think that there should be 
such a terrible loss of life on his account, sent a herald 
into the opposite camp, with a proposition that the fate 
of the campaign should be decided by single combat 
between himself and his brother Polynices. The chal- 
lenge was readily accepted, and in the duel which took 
place outside the city walls, in the sight of the rival 
forces, Eteocles and Polynices were both fatally wounded 
and expired on the field of battle. 

Both sides now claimed the day, and the result was 
that hostilities recommenced, and soon the battle raged 
with greater fury than ever. But victory at last declared 
itself for the Thebans. In their flight the Argives lost 
all their leaders, Adrastus excepted, who owed his safety 
to the fleetness of his horse Arion. 

By the death of the brothers, Creon became once more 
king of Thebes, and in order to show his abhorrence of 
the conduct of Polynices in fighting against his country, 
he strictly forbade any one to bury either his remains or 
those of his allies. But the faithful Antigone, who had 
returned to Thebes on the death of her father, could not 
endure that the body of her brother should remain un- 
buried. She therefore bravely disregarded the orders 
of the king, and endeavoured to give sepulture to the 
remains of Polynices. 

When Creon discovered that his commands had been 
set at defiance, he inhumanly condemned the devoted 
maiden to be entombed alive in a subterranean vault. 


But retribution was at hand. His son, Hsemon, who 
was betrothed to Antigone, having contrived to effect an 
entrance into the vault, was horrified to find that Antigone 
had hanged herself by her veil. Feeling that life with- 
out her would be intolerable, he threw himself in despair 
on his own sword, and after solemnly invoking the male- 
diction of the gods on the head of his father, expired 
beside the dead body of his betrothed. 

Hardly had the news of the tragic fate of his son 
reached the king, before another messenger appeared, 
bearing the tidings that his wife Eurydice, on hearing of 
the death of Haemon, had put an end to her existence, 
and thus the king found himself in his old age both 
widowed and childless. 

Nor did he succeed in the execution of his vindictive 
designs; for Adrastus, who, after his flight from Thebes, 
had taken refuge at Athens, induced Theseus to lead 
an army against the Thebans, to compel them to restore 
the dead bodies of the Argive warriors to their friends, 
in order that they might perform due funereal rites in 
honour of the slain. This undertaking was successfully 
accomplished, and the remains of the fallen heroes were 
interred with due honours. 


Ten years after these events the sons of the slain 
heroes, who were called Epigoni, or descendants, re- 
solved to avenge the death of their fathers, and with this 
object entered upon a new expedition against the city of 

By the advice of the Delphic oracle the command was 
intrusted to Alcmseon, the son of Amphiaraus; but re- 
membering the injunction of his father he hesitated to 
accept this post before executing vengeance on his 
mother Eriphyle. Thersander, however, the son of 
Polynices, adopting similar tactics to those of his father, 
bribed Eriphyle with the beautiful veil of Harmonia, 
beoueathed to him by Polynices, to induce her son Ale- 


mseon and Ins brother Amphilochus to join in this second 
war against Thebes. 

Now the mother of Alcmaeon was gifted with that rare 
fascination which renders its possessor irresistible to all 
who may chance to come within its influence; nor was 
her own son able to withstand her blandishments. Yield- 
ing therefore to her wily representations he accepted the 
command of the troops, and at the head of a large and 
powerful army advanced upon Thebes: 

Before the gates of the city Alcmseon encountered the 
Thebans under the command of Laodamas, the son of 
Eteocles. A fierce battle ensued, in which the Theban 
leader, after performing prodigies of valour, perished 
by the hand of Alcmaeon. 

After losing their chief and the flower of their army, 
the Thebans retreated behind the city walls, and the 
enemy now pressed them hard on every side. In their 
distress they appealed to the blind old seer Tiresias, 
who was over a hundred years old. With trembling 
lips and in broken accents, he informed them that 
they could only save their lives by abandoning their 
native city with their wives and families. Upon this 
they despatched ambassadors into the enemy's camp; and 
whilst these were protracting negotiations during the 
night, the Thebans, with their wives and children, evacu- 
ated the city. Next morning the Argives entered Thebes 
and plundered it, placing Thersander, the son of Poly- 
nices (who was a descendant of Cadmus), on the throne 
which his father had so vainly contested. 


When Alcmseon returned from his expedition against 
the Thebans he determined to fulfil the last injunction 
of his father Amphiaraus, who had desired him to be 
revenged on his mother Eriphyle for her perfidy in ac- 
cepting a bribe to betray him. This resolution was 
further strengthened by the discovery that his unprin- 
cipled mother had urged him also to join the expedition 


in return for the much-coveted veil of Harmonia. He 
therefore put her to death; and taking with him the ill- 
fated necklace and veil, abandoned for ever the home of 
his fathers. 

But the gods, who could not suffer so unnatural a 
crime to go unpunished, afflicted him with madness, and 
sent one of the Furies to pursue him unceasingly. In 
this unhappy condition he wandered about from place to 
place, until at last having reached Psophis in Arcadia, 
Phegeus, king of the country, not only purified him of 
his crime, but also bestowed upon him the hand of his 
daughter Arsinoe, to whom Alcmseon presented the neck- 
lace and veil, which had already been the cause of so 
much unhappiness. 

Though now released from his mental affliction, the 
curse which hung over him was not entirely removed, 
and on his account the country of his adoption was 
visited with a severe drought. On consulting the oracle 
of Delphi he was informed that any land which offered 
him shelter would be cursed by the gods, and that the 
malediction would continue to follow him till he came 
to a country which was not in existence at the time he 
had murdered his mother. Bereft of hope, and resolved 
no longer to cast the shadow of his dark fate over those 
he loved, Alcmaeon took a tender leave of his wife and 
little son, and became once more an outcast and wanderer. 

Arrived after a long and painful pilgrimage at the river 
Achelous, he discovered, to his unspeakable joy, a beauti- 
ful and fertile island, which had but lately emerged from 
beneath the water. Here he took up his abode; and in 
this haven of rest he was at length freed from his suffer- 
ings, and finally purified of his crime by the river-god 
Achelous. But in his new-found home where prosperity 
smiled upon hiny Alcmaeon soon forgot the loving wife and 
child he had left behind, and wooed Calirrhoe, the beauti- 
ful daughter^ ,<She river-god, who became united to him 
in marriage. ^VS. 

For many 'fftfo Alcmaeon and Calirrhoe lived happily 
"together, and two sons were born to them. But unfor- 


tunately for the peace of her husband, the daughter of 
Achelous had heard of the celebrated necklace and veil 
of Harmonia, and became seized with a violent desire to 
become the possessor of these precious treasures. 

Now the necklace and veil were in the safe-keeping of 
Arsinoe; but as Alcmseon had carefully concealed the fact 
of his former marriage from his young wife, he informed 
her, when no longer able to combat her importunities, 
that he had concealed them in a cave in his native 
country, and promised to hasten thither and procure 
them for her. He accordingly took leave of Calirrhoe 
and his children, and proceeded to Psophis, where he 
presented himself before his deserted wife and her father, 
king Phegeus. To them he excused his absence by the 
fact of his having suffered from a fresh attack of mad- 
ness, and added that an oracle had foretold to him that 
his malady would only be cured when he had deposited 
the necklace and veil of Harmonia in the temple of Apollo 
at Delphi. Arsinoe, deceived by his artful representa- 
tions, unhesitatingly restored to him his bridal gifts, 
whereupon Alcmaeon set out on his homeward journey, 
well satisfied with the successful issue of his expedition. 

But the fatal necklace and veil were doomed to bring 
ruin and disaster to all who possessed them. During 
his sojourn at the court of king Phegeus, one of the 
servants who had accompanied Alcmseon betrayed the 
secret of his union with the daughter of the river-god; 
and when the king informed his sons of his treacherous 
conduct, they determined to avenge the wrongs of their 
sister Arsinoe. They accordingly concealed themselves 
at a point of the road which Alcmseon was compelled to 
pass, and as he neared the spot they suddenly emerged 
from their place of ambush, fell upon him and despatched 

When Arsinoe, who still loved her faithless husband, 
heard of the murder, she bitterly reproached her brothers 
for the crime which they had perpetrated, at which they 
were so incensed, that they placed her in a chest, and 
conveyed her to Agapenor, son of Anca3us, at Tegea. 


Here they accused her of the murder of which they 
themselves were guilty, and she suffered a painful death. 

Calinrhoe, on learning the sad fate of Alcmason, im- 
plored Zeus that her infant sons might grow at once to 
manhood, and avenge the death of their father. The 
ruler of Olympus heard the petition of the bereaved 
wife, and, in answer to her prayer, the children of yester- 
day became transformed into bearded men, full of strength 
and courage, and thirsting for revenge. 

Hastening to Tegea, they there encountered the sons 
of Phegeus, who were about to repair to Delphi, in 
order to deposit the necklace and veil in the sanctuary 
of Apollo; and before the brothers had time to defend 
themselves, the stalwart sons of Calirrhoe rushed upon 
them and slew them. They then proceeded to Psophis, 
where they killed king Phegeus and his wife, after which 
they returned to their mother with the necklace and veil, 
which, by the command of her father Achelous, were de- 
posited as sacred offerings in the temple of Apollo at 


After the apotheosis of Heracles, his children were so 
cruelly persecuted by Eurystheus, that they fled for pro- 
tection to king Ceyx at Trachin, accompanied by the 
aged lolaus, the nephew and life-long friend of their 
father, who constituted himself their guide and protector. 
But on Eurystheus demanding the surrender of the fugi- 
tives, the Heraclidae, knowing that the small force at the 
disposal of king Ceyx would be altogether inadequate to 
protect them against the powerful king of Argos, aban- 
doned his territory, and sought refuge at Athens, where 
they were hospitably received by king Demophoon, the 
son of the great hero Theseus. He warmly espoused 
their cause, and determined to protect them at all costs 
against Eurystheus, who had despatched a numerous 
force in pursuit of them. 

When the Athenians had made all necessary prepara- 
tions to repel the invaders, an oracle announced that the 


sacrifice of a maiden of noble birth was necessary to en- 
sure to them victory; -whereupon Macaria, the beautiful 
daughter of Heracles and Deianira, magnanimously offered 
herself as a sacrifice, and, surrounded by the noblest ma- 
trons and maidens of Athens, voluntarily devoted herself 
to death. 

While these events were transpiring in Athens, Hyllus, 
the eldest son of Heracles and Deianira, had advanced 
with a large army to the assistance of his brothers, and 
having sent a messenger to the king announcing his 
arrival, Demophoon, with his army, joined his forces. 

In tlie thick of the battle which ensued, lolaus, follow- 
ing a sudden impulse, borrowed the chariot of Hyllus, 
and earnestly entreated Zeus and Hebe to restore to him, 
for this one day only, the vigour and strength of his 
youth. His prayer was heard. A thick cloud descended 
from heaven and enveloped the chariot, and when it dis- 
appeared, lolaus, in the full plenitude of manly vigour, 
stood revealed before the astonished gaze of the com- 
batants. He then led on his valiant band of warriors, and 
soon the enemy was in headlong flight; and Eurystheus, 
who was taken prisoner, was put to death by the com- 
mand of king Demophoon. 

After gratefully acknowledging the timely aid of the 
Athenians, Hyllus, accompanied by the faithful lolaus 
and his brothers, took leave of king Demophoon, and 
proceeded to invade the Peloponnesus, which they re- 
garded as their lawful patrimony; for, according to the 
will of Zeus, it should have been the rightful possession 
of their father, the great hero Heracles, had not Hera 
maliciously defeated his plans by causing his cousin 
Eurystheus to precede him into the world. 

For the space of twelve months the Heraclidae contrived 
to maintain themselves in the Peloponnesus; but at the 
expiration of that time a pestilence broke out, which 
spread over the entire peninsula, and compelled the 
Heraclidae to evacuate the country and return to Attica, 
where for a time they settled. 

After the lapse of three years Hyllus resolved on 


making another effort to obtain his paternal inheritance. 
Before setting out on the expedition, however, he con- 
sulted the oracle of Delphi, and the response was, that he 
must wait for the third fruit before the enterprise would 
prove successful Interpreting this ambiguous reply to 
signify the third summer, Hyllus controlled his impatience 
for three years, when, having collected a powerful army, 
he once more entered the Peloponnesus. 

At the isthmus of Corinth he was opposed by Atreus, 
the son of Pelops, who at the death of Eurystheus had 
inherited the kingdom. In order to save bloodshed, 
Hyllus offered to decide his claims by single combat, the 
conditions being, that if he were victorious, he and his 
brothers should obtain undisputed possession of their 
rights; but if defeated, the Heraclidae were to desist for 
fifty years from attempting to press their claim. 

The challenge was accepted by Echemou, king of Tegea, 
and Hyllus lost his life in the encounter, whereupon the 
sons of Heracles, in virtue of their agreement, abandoned 
the Peloponnesus and retired to Marathon. 

Hyllus was succeeded by his son Cleodseus, who, at the 
expiration of the appointed time, collected a large army 
and invaded the Peloponnesus; but he was not more suc- 
cessful than his father had been, and perished there with 
all his forces. 

Twenty years later his son Aristomachus consulted an 
oracle, which promised him victory if he went by way of 
the defile. The Heraclidae once more set out, but were 
again defeated, and Aristomachus shared the fate of his 
father and grandfather, and fell on the field of battle. 

When, at the expiration of thirty years, the sons of 
Aristomachus, Temenus, Cresphontes, and Aristodemus 
again consulted the oracle, the answer was still the same; 
but this time the following explanation accompanied the 
response : the third fruit signified the third generation, 
to which they themselves belonged, and not the third 
fruit of the earth; and by the defile was indicated, not 
the isthmus of Corinth, but the straits on the right of 
the isthmus. 


Temenus lost no time in collecting an army and build- 
ing ships of war; but just as all was ready and the fleet 
about to sail, Aristodemus, the youngest of the brothers, 
was struck by lightning. To add to their misfortunes, 
Hippolytes, a descendant of Heracles, who had joined in 
the expedition, killed a soothsayer whom he mistook for 
a spy, and the gods, in their displeasure, sent violent tem- 
pests, by means of which the entire fleet was destroyed, 
whilst famine and pestilence decimated the ranks of the 

The oracle, on being again consulted, advised that 
Hippolytes, being the offender, should be banished from 
the country for ten years, and that the command of the 
troops should be delegated to a man having three eyes. 
A search was at once instituted by the Heraclidae for 
a man answering to this description, who was found at 
length in the person of Oxylus, a descendant of the 
^Etolian race of kings. In obedience to the command of 
the oracle, Hippolytes was banished, an army and fleet 
once more* equipped, and Oxylus elected commander-in- 

And now success at length crowned the efforts of the 
long-suffering descendants of the great hero. They 
obtained possession of the Peloponnesus, Avhich was 
divided among them by lot. Argos fell to Temenus, 
Lacedamon to Aristodemus, and Messene to Cresphontes. 
In gratitude for the services of their able leader, Oxylus, 
the kingdom of Elis, was conferred upon him by the 


Troy or Ilion was the capital of a kingdom in Asia 
Minor, situated near the Hellespont, and founded by 
Ilus, son of Tros. At the time of the famous Trojan 
war this city was under the government of Priam, a 
direct descendant of Ilus. Priam was married to Hecuba, 
daughter of Dymas, king of Thrace; and among the most 
celebrated of their children were the renowned and 


valiant Hector, the prophetess Cassandra, and Paris, the 
cause of the Trojan war. 

Before the birth of her second son Paris, Hecuba dreamt 
that she had given birth to a flaming brand, which was 
interpreted by ^Esacus the seer (a son of Priam by a 
former marriage) to signify that she would bear a son 
who would cause the destruction of the city of Troy. 
Anxious to prevent the fulfilment of the prophecy, 
Hecuba caused her new-born babe to bo exposed on 
Mount Ida to perish; but being found by some kind- 
hearted shepherds, the child was reared by them, and 
grew up unconscious of his noble birth. 

As the boy approached manhood he became remark- 
able, not only for his wonderful beauty of form and 
feature, but also for his strength and courage, which he 
exercised in defending the flocks from the attacks of 
robbers and wild beasts; hence he was called Alexander, 
or helper of men. It was about this time that he settled 
the famous dispute concerning the golden apple, thrown 
by the goddess of Discord into the assembly of the gods. 
As we have already seen, he gave his decision in favour 
of Aphrodite; thus creating for himself two implacable 
enemies, for Hera and Athene never forgave the slight 

Paris became united to a beautiful nymph named 
(Enone, with whom he lived happily in the seclusion 
and tranquillity of a pastoral life; but to her deep grief 
this peaceful existence was not fated to be of long dura- 

Hearing that some funereal games were about to be 
held in Troy in honour of a departed relative of the king, 
Paris resolved to visit the capital and take part in them 
himself. There he so greatly distinguished himself in a 
contest with his unknown brothers, Hector and Deiphobus, 
that the proud young princes, enraged that an obscure 
shepherd should snatch from them the prize of victor)', 
were about to create a disturbance, when Cassandra, 
who had been a spectator of the proceedings, stepped 
forward, and announced to them that the humble peasant 
who had so signally defeated them was their own 


brother Paris. He was then conducted to the presence 
of his parents, who joyfully acknowledged him as their 
child; and amidst the festivities and rejoicings in honour 
of their new-found son the ominous prediction of the 
past was forgotten. 

As a proof of his confidence, the king now intrusted 
Paris with a somewhat delicate mission. As we have already 
seen in the Legend of Heracles, that great hero conquered 
Troy, and after killing king Laomedon, carried away 
captive his beautiful daughter Hesione, whom he bestowed 
in marriage on his friend Telamon. But although she 
became princess of Salamis, and lived happily with her 
husband, her brother Priam never ceased to regret her 
loss, and the indignity which had been passed upon his 
house; and it was now proposed that Paris should be 
equipped with a numerous fleet, and proceed to Greece in 
order to demand the restoration of the king's sister. 

Before setting out on this expedition, Paris was warned 
by Cassandra against bringing home a wife from Greece, 
and she predicted that if he disregarded her injunction 
he would bring inevitable ruin upon the city of Troy, 
and destruction to the house of Priam. 

Under the command of Paris the fleet set sail, and 
arrived safely in Greece. Here the young Trojan prince 
first beheld Helen, the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and 
sister of the Dioscuri, who was the wife of Menelaus, 
king of Sparta, and the loveliest woman of her time. 
The most renowned heroes in Greece had sought the 
honour of her hand ; but her stepfather, Tyndareus, king 
of Sparta, fearing that if he bestowed her in marriage on 
one of her numerous lovers he would make enemies of 
the rest, made it a stipulation that all suitors should 
solemnly swear to assist and defend the successful candi- 
date, with all the means at their command, in any feud 
which might hereafter arise in connection with the 
marriage. He at length conferred the hand of Helen upon 
Menelaus, a warlike prince, devoted to martial exercises 
and the pleasures of the chase, to whom he resigned his 
throne and kingdom. 


When Paris arrived at Sparta, and sought hospitality 
at the royal palace, he was kindly received by king 
Menelaus. At the banquet given in his honour, he 
charmed both host and hostess by his graceful manner 
and varied accomplishments, and specially ingratiated 
himself with the fair Helen, to whom he presented some 
rare and chaste trinkets of Asiatic manufacture. 

Whilst Paris was still a guest at the court of the king 
of Sparta, the latter received an invitation from his friend 
Idomeneus, king of Crete, to join him in a hunting 
expedition; and Menelaus, being of an unsuspicious and 
easy temperament, accepted the invitation, leaving to 
Helen the duty of entertaining the distinguished stranger. 
Captivated by her surpassing loveliness, the Trojan 
prince forgot every sense of honour and duty, and 
resolved to rob his absent host of his beautiful wife. 
He accordingly collected his followers, and with their 
assistance stormed the royal castle, possessed himself of 
the rich treasures which it contained, and succeeded 
in carrying off its beautiful, and not altogether unwilling 

They at once set sail, but were driven by stress of 
weather to the island of Crania, where they cast anchor; 
and it was not until some years had elapsed, during 
which time home and country were forgotten, that Paris 
and Helen proceeded to Troy. 

Preparations for the War. When Menelaus heard 
of the violation of his hearth and home he proceeded to 
Pylos, accompanied by his brother Agamemnon, in order 
to consult the wise old king Xestor, who was renowned 
for his great experience and state-craft On hearing the 
facts of the case Nestor expressed it as his opinion that 
only by means of the combined efforts of all the states of 
Greece could Menelaus hope to regain Helen in defiance 
of so powerful a kingdom as that of Troy. 

Menelaus and Agamemnon now raised the war-cry, 
which was unanimously responded to from one end of 
Greece to the other. Many of those who volunteered 


their services were former suitors of the fair Helen, and 
were therefore bound by their oath to support the cause 
of Menelaus; others joined from pure love of adventure, 
but one and all were deeply impressed with the disgrace 
which would attach to their country should such a crime 
be suffered to go unpunished. Thus a powerful army 
was collected in which few names of note were missing. 

Only in the case of two great heroes, Odysseus (Ulysses) 
and Achilles, did Menelaus experience any difficulty. 

Odysseus, famed for his wisdom and great astuteness, 
was at this time living happily in Ithaca with his fair 
young wife Penelope and his little son Telemachus, and 
was loath to leave his happy home for a perilous foreign 
expedition of uncertain duration. When therefore his 
services were solicited he feigned madness; but the 
shrewd Palamedes, a distinguished hero in the suite of 
Menelaus, detected and exposed the ruse, and thus Odys- 
seus was forced to join in the war. But he never forgave 
the interference of Palamedes, and, as we shall see, 
eventually revenged himself upon him in a most cruel 

Achilles was the son of Peleus and the sea-goddess 
Thetis, who is said to have dipped her son, when a babe, 
in the river Styx, and thereby rendered him invulnerable, 
except in the right heel, by which she held him. "When 
the boy was nine years old it was foretold to Thetis that 
he would either enjoy a long life of inglorious ease and 
inactivity, or that after a brief career of victory he would 
die the death of a hero. Naturally desirous of prolonging 
the life of her son, the fond mother devoutly hoped that 
the former fate might be allotted to him. With this view 
she conveyed him to the island of Scyros, in the ^Egean 
Sea, where, disguised as a girl, he was brought up among 
the daughters of Lycomedes, king of the country. 

Now that the presence of Achilles was required, owing 
to an oracular prediction that Troy could not be taken 
without him, Menelaus consulted Calchas the soothsayer, 
who revealed to him the place of his concealment. Odys- 
seus was accordingly despatched to Scyros, where, by 


means of a clever device, he soon discovered which among 
the maidens was the object of his search. Disguising 
himself as a merchant, Odysseus obtained an introduction 
to the royal palace, where he offered to the king's 
daughters various trinkets for sale. The girls, with one 
exception, all examined his wares with unfeigned interest 
Observing this circumstance Odysseus shrewdly concluded 
that the one who held aloof must be none other than the 
young Achilles himself. But in order further to test the 
correctness of his deduction, he now exhibited a beautiful 
set of warlike accoutrements, whilst, at a given signal, 
stirring strains of martial music were heard outside; 
whereupon Achilles, fired with warlike ardour, seized the 
weapons, and thus revealed his identity. He now joined 
the cause of the Greeks, accompanied at the request of 
his father by his kinsman Patroclus, and contributed to 
the expedition a large force of Thessalian troops, or Myr- 
midons, as they were called, and also fifty ships. 

For ten long years Agamemnon and the other chiefs 
devoted all their energy and means in preparing for the 
expedition against Troy. But during these warlike 
preparations an attempt at a peaceful solution of the diffi- 
culty was not neglected. An embassy consisting of Mene- 
laus, Odysseus, &c., was despatched to king Priam de- 
manding the surrender of Helen; but though the embassy 
was received with the utmost pomp and ceremony, the 
demand was nevertheless rejected; upon which the am- 
bassadors returned to Greece, and the order was given 
for the fleet to assemble at Aulis, in Bceotia. 

Never before in the annals of Greece had so largt, an 
army been collected. A hundred thousand warriors were 
assembled at Aulis, and in its bay floated over a thousand 
ships, ready to convey them to the Trojan coast. The 
command of this mighty host was intrusted to Agamem- 
non, king of Argos, the most powerful of all the Greek 

Before the fleet set sail solemn sacrifices were offered 
to the gods on the sea-shore, when suddenly a serpent was 
seen to ascend a plane-tree, in which was a sparrow's 


nest containing nine young ones. The reptile first de- 
voured the young birds and then their mother, after 
which it was turned by Zeus into stone. Calchas the 
soothsayer, on being consulted, interpreted the miracle 
to signify that the war with Troy would last for nine years, 
and that only in the tenth would the city be taken. 

Departure of the Greek Fleet. The fleet then set 
sail; but mistaking the Mysian coast for that of Troy, 
they landed troops and commenced to ravage the country. 
Telephus, king of the Mysians, who was a son of the 
great hero Heracles, opposed them with a large army, and 
succeeded in driving them back to their ships, but was 
himself wounded in the engagement by the spear of 
Achilles. Patroclus, who fought valiantly by the side of 
his kinsman, was also wounded in this battle; but 
Achilles, who was a pupil of Chiron, carefully bound up 
the wound, which he succeeded in healing; and from this 
incident dates the celebrated friendship which ever after 
existed between the two heroes, who even in death re- 
mained united. 

The Greeks now returned to Aulis. Meanwhile, the 
wound of Telephus proving incurable, he consulted an 
oracle, and the response was, that he alone who had in- 
flicted the wound possessed the power of curing it. 
Telephus accordingly proceeded to the Greek camp, 
where he was healed by Achilles, and, at the solicitation of 
Odysseus, consented to act as guide in the voyage to Troy. 

Just as the expedition was about to start for the 
second time, Agamemnon had the misfortune to kill a 
hind sacred to Artemis, who, in her anger, sent con- 
tinuous calms, which prevented the fleet from setting 
sail. Calchas on being consulted announced that the 
sacrifice of Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon, 
would alone appease the incensed goddess. How Aga- 
memnon at length overcame his feelings as a father, and 
how Iphigenia was saved by Artemis herself, has been 
already related in a previous chapter. 

A fair wind having at length sprung up, the fleet 

(78) X 


once more set sail. They first stopped at the island of 
Tenedos, where the famous archer Philoctetes who pos- 
sessed the bow and arrows of Heracles, given to him by 
the dying hero was bitten in the foot by a venomous 
snake. So unbearable was the odour emitted by the 
wound, that, at the suggestion of Odysseus, Philoctetes 
was conveyed to the island of Lesbos, where, to his great 
chagrin, he was abandoned to his fate, and the fleet pro- 
ceeded on their journey to Troy. 

Commencement of Hostilities. Having received 
early intelligence of the impending invasion of their 
country, the Trojans sought the assistance of the neigh- 
bouring states, who all gallantly responded to their call 
for help, and thus ample preparations were made to 
receive the enemy. King Priam being himself too ad- 
vanced in years for active service, the command of the 
army devolved upon his eldest son, the brave and valiant 

At the approach of the Greek fleet the Trojans ap- 
peared on the coast in order to prevent their landing. 
But great hesitation prevailed among the troops as to 
who should be the first to set foot on the enemy's soil, it 
having been predicted that Avhoever did so would fall 
a sacrifice to the Fates. Protesilaus of Phylace, how- 
ever, nobly disregarding the ominous prediction, leaped 
on shore, and fell by the hand of Hector. 

The Greeks then succeeded in effecting a landing, and in 
the engagement which ensued the Trojans were signally 
defeated, and driven to seek safety behind the walls of 
their city. With Achilles at their head the Greeks now 
made a desperate attempt to take the city by storm, but 
were repulsed with terrible losses. After this defeat the 
invaders, foreseeing a long and wearisome campaign, drew 
up their ships on land, erected tents, huts, tVrc., and formed 
an intrenched camp on the coast. 

Between the Greek camp and the city of Troy was a 
plain watered by the rivers Scamander and Simois, and 
it was on this plain, afterwards so renowned in history, 


that the ever-memorable battles between the Greeks and 
Trojans were fought. 

The impossibility of taking the city by storm .was now 
recognized by the leaders of the Greek forces. The 
Trojans, on their side, being less numerous than the 
enemy, dared not venture on a great battle in the open 
field; hence the war dragged on for many weary years 
without any decisive engagement taking place. 

It was about this time that Odysseus carried out his 
long meditated revenge against Palamedes. Palamedes 
was one of the wisest, most energetic, and most upright 
of all the Greek heroes, and it was in consequence of his 
unflagging zeal and wonderful eloquence that most of 
the chiefs had been induced to join the expedition. But 
the very qualities which endeared him to the hearts of 
his countrymen rendered him hateful in the eyes of his 
implacable enemy, Odysseus, who never forgave his 
having detected his scheme to avoid joining the army. 

In order to effect the ruin of Palamedes, Odysseus con- 
cealed in his tent a vast sum of money. He next wrote 
a letter, purporting to be from king Priam to Palamedes, 
in which the former thanked the Greek hero effusively 
for the valuable information received from him, referring 
at the same time to a large sum of money which he had 
sent to him as a reward. This letter, which was found 
upon the person of a Phrygian prisoner, was read aloud 
in a council of the Greek princes. Palamedes was ar- 
raigned before the chiefs of the army and accused of 
betraying his country to the enemy, whereupon a search 
was instituted, and a large sum of money being found in 
his tent, he was pronounced guilty and sentenced to be 
stoned to death. Though fully aware of the base trea- 
chery practised against him, Palamedes offered not a 
word in serf-defence, knowing but too well that, in the 
face of such damning evidence, the attempt to prove his 
innocence would be vain. 

Defection of Achilles. During the first year of the 
campaign the Greeks ravaged the surrounding country, 


and pillaged the neighbouring villages. Upon one of 
these foraging expeditions the city of Pedasus was sacked, 
and Agamemnon, as commander-in-chief, received as his 
share of the spoil the beautiful Chryseis, daughter of 
Chryses, the priest of Apollo; whilst to Achilles was 
allotted another captive, the fair Briseis. The following 
day Chryses, anxious to ransom his daughter, repaired to 
the Greek camp; but Agamemnon refused to accede to 
his proposal, and with rude and insulting words drove 
the old man away. Full of grief at the loss of his child 
Chryses called upon Apollo for vengeance on her captor. 
His prayer was heard, and the god sent a dreadful pes- 
tilence which raged for ten days in the camp of the 
Greeks. Achilles at length called together a council, and 
inquired of Calchas the soothsayer how to arrest this 
terrible visitation of the gods. The seer replied that 
Apollo, incensed at the insult offered to his priest, had 
sent the plague, and that only by the surrender of Chry- 
seis could his anger be appeased. 

On hearing this Agamemnon agreed to resign the 
maiden; but being already embittered against Calchas for 
his prediction with regard to his own daughter Iphigenia, 
he now heaped insults upon the soothsayer and accused 
him of plotting against his interests. Achilles espoused 
the cause of Calchas, and a violent dispute arose, in which 
the son of Thetis would have killed his chief but for the 
timely interference of Pallas-Athene, who suddenly ap- 
peared beside him, unseen by the rest, and recalled him to 
a sense of the duty he owed to his commander. Agamem- 
non revenged himself on Achilles by depriving him of 
his beautiful captive, the fair Briseis, who had become so 
attached to her kind and noble captor that she wept bit- 
terly on being removed from his charge. Achilles, now 
fairly disgusted with the ungenerous conduct of his chief, 
withdrew himself to his tent, and obstinately declined to 
take further part in the war. 

Heart-sore and dejected he repaired to the sea-shore, 
and there invoked the presence of his divine mother. 
In answer to his prayer Thetis emerged from beneath 


the waves, and comforted her gallant son with the assur- 
ance that she would entreat the mighty Zeus to avenge 
his wrongs by giving victory to the Trojans, so that the 
Greeks might learn to realize the great loss which they 
had sustained by his withdrawal from the army. The 
Trojans being informed by one of their spies of the 
defection of Achilles, became emboldened by the absence 
of this brave and intrepid leader, whom they feared 
above all the other Greek heroes; they accordingly sallied 
forth, and made a bold and eminently successful attack 
upon the Greeks, who, although they most bravely and ob- 
stinately defended their position, were completely routed, 
and driven back to their intrenchments, Agamemnon 
and most of the other Greek leaders being wounded in 
the engagement. 

Encouraged by this marked and signal success the 
Trojans now commenced to besiege the Greeks in their 
own camp. At this juncture Agamemnon, seeing the 
danger which threatened the army, sunk for the moment 
all personal grievances, and despatched an embassy to 
Achilles consisting of many noble and distinguished chiefs, 
urgently entreating him to come to the assistance of his 
countrymen in this their hour of peril; promising that 
not only should the fair Briseis be restored to him, but 
also that the hand of his own daughter should be be- 
stowed on him in marriage, with seven towns as her 
dowry. But the obstinate determination of the proud 
hero was not to be moved; and though he listened cour- 
teously to the arguments and representations of the mes- 
sengers of Agamemnon, his resolution to take no further 
part in the war remained unshaken. 

In one of the engagements which took place soon 
afterwards, the Trojans, under the command of Hector, 
penetrated into the heart of the Greek camp, and had 
already commenced to burn their ships, when Patroclus, 
seeing the distress of his countrymen, earnestly besought 
Achilles to send him to the rescue at the head of the 
Myrmidons. The better nature of the hero prevailed, 
and he not only intrusted to his friend the command of 


his brave band of warriors, but lent him also his own suit 
of armour. 

Patroclus having mounted the war-chariot of the hero, 
Achilles lifted on high a golden goblet and poured out a 
libation of wine to the gods, accompanied by an earnest 
petition for victory, and the safe return of his beloved 
comrade. As a parting injunction he warned Patroclus 
against advancing too far into the territory of the enemy, 
and entreated him to be content with rescuing the 

At the head of the Myrmidons Patroclus now made a 
desperate attack upon the enemy, who, thinking that the 
invincible Achilles was himself in command of his bat- 
talions, became disheartened, and were put to flight 
Patroclus followed up his victory and pursued the 
Trojans as far as the walls of their city, altogether for- 
getting in the excitement of battle the injunction of his 
friend Achilles. But his temerity cost the young hero 
his life, for he now encountered the mighty Hector him- 
self, and fell by his hands. Hector stripped the armour 
from his dead foe, and would have dragged the body into 
the city had not Menelaus and Ajax the Greater rushed 
forward, and after a long and fierce struggle succeeded in 
rescuing it from desecration. 

Death of Hector. And now came the mournful 
task of informing Achilles of the fate of his friend. He 
wept bitterly over the dead body of his comrade, and 
solemnly vowed that the funereal rites should not be 
solemnized in his honour until he had slain Hector with 
his own hands, and captured twelve Trojans to be im- 
molated on his funeral pyre. All other considerations 
vanished before the burning desire to avenge the death 
of his friend; and Achilles, now thoroughly aroused from 
his apathy, became reconciled to Agamemnon, and rejoined 
the Greek army. At the request of the goddess Thetis, 
Hephaestus forged for him a new suit of armour, which 
far surpassed in magnificence that of all the other heroes. 

Thus gloriously arrayed he was ' soon seen striding 


along, calling the Greeks to arms. He now led the 
troops against the enemy, who were defeated and put to 
flight until, near the gates of the city, Achilles and 
Hector encountered each other. But here, for the 
first time throughout his whole career, the courage 
of the Trojan hero deserted him. At the near ap- 
proach of his redoubtable antagonist he turned and 
fled for his life. Achilles pursued him; and thrice 
round the walls of the city was the terrible race 
run, in sight of the old king and queen, who had 
mounted the walls to watch the battle. Hector en- 
deavoured, during each course, to reach the city gates, 
so that his comrades might open them to admit him or 
cover him with their missiles; but his adversary, seeing 
his design, forced him into the open plain, at the same 
time calling to his friends to hurl no spear upon his foe, 
but to leave to him the vengeance he had so long panted 
for. At length, wearied with the hot pursuit, Hector 
made a stand and challenged his foe to single combat. 
A desperate encounter took place, in which Hector suc- 
cumbed to his powerful adversary at the Scsean gate; 
and with his last dying breath the Trojan hero foretold 
to his conqueror that he himself would soon perish on 
the same spot. 

The infuriated victor bound the lifeless corse of his 
fallen foe to his chariot, and dragged it three times 
round the city walls and thence to the Greek camp. 
Overwhelmed with horror at this terrible scene the aged 
parents of Hector uttered such heart-rending cries of 
anguish that they reached the ears of Andromache, his 
faithful wife, who, rushing to the walls, beheld the dead 
body of her husband, bound to the conqueror's car. 

Achilles now solemnized the funereal rites in honour 
of his friend Patroclus. The dead body of the hero was 
borne to the funeral pile by the Myrmidons in full 
panoply. His dogs and horses were then slain to accom- 
pany him, in case he should need them in the realm of 
shades; after which Achilles, in fulfilment of his savage 
vow, slaughtered twelve brave Trojan captives, who were 


laid on the funeral pyre, which was now lighted. When 
all was consumed the bones of Patroclus were carefully 
collected and inclosed in a golden urn. Then followed 
the funereal games, which consisted of chariot-races, 
fighting with the cestus (a sort of boxing-glove), wrest- 
ling matches, foot-races, and single combats with shield 
and spear, in all of which the most distinguished heroes 
took part, and contended for the prizes. 

Penthesilea. After the death of Hector, their great 
hope and bulwark, the* Trojans did not venture beyond 
the walls of their city. But soon their hopes were re- 
vived by the appearance of a powerful army of Amazons 
under the command of their queen Penthesilea, a daughter 
of Ares, whose great ambition w r as to measure swords 
with the renowned Achilles himself, and to avenge the 
death of the valiant Hector. 

Hostilities now recommenced in the open plain. Pen- 
thesilea led the Trojan host; the Greeks on their side 
being under the command of Achilles and Ajax. "Whilst 
the latter succeeded in putting the enemy to flight, 
Achilles was challenged by Penthesilea to single combat. 
With heroic courage she went forth to the fight; but even 
the strongest men failed before the power of the great 
Achilles, and though a daughter of Ares, Penthesilea 
was but a woman. With generous chivalry the hero 
endeavoured to spare the brave and beautiful maiden- 
warrior, and only when his own life was in imminent 
danger did he make a serious effort to vanquish his 
enemy, when Penthesilea shared the fate of all who 
ventured to oppose the spear of Achilles, and fell by 
his hand. 

Feeling herself fatally wounded, she remembered the 
desecration of the dead body of Hector, and earnestly 
entreated the forbearance of the hero. But the petition 
was hardly necessary, for Achilles, full of compassion for 
his brave but unfortunate adversary, lifted her gently 
from the ground, and she expired in his arms. 

On beholding the dead body of their leader in the pos- 


session of Achilles, the Amazons and Trojans prepared 
for a fresh attack in order to wrest it from his hands; 
but observing their purpose, Achilles stepped forward 
and loudly called upon them to halt. Then in a few well- 
chosen words he praised the great valour and intrepidity 
of the fallen queen, and expressed his willingness to 
resign the body at once. 

The chivalrous conduct of -Achilles was fully appre- 
ciated by both Greeks and Trojans. Thersites alone, a 
base and cowardly wretch, attributed unworthy motives 
to the gracious proceedings of the hero; and, not content 
with these insinuations, he savagely pierced with his 
lance the dead body of the Amazonian queen; whereupon 
Achilles, with one blow of his powerful arm, felled him 
to the ground, and killed him on the spot. 

The well-merited death of Thersites excited no com- 
miseration, but his kinsman Diomedes came forward and 
claimed compensation for the murder of his relative; and 
as Agamemnon, who, as commander-in-chief, might easily 
have settled the difficulty, refrained from interfering, the 
proud nature of Achilles resented the implied condemna- 
tion of his conduct, and he once more abandoned the 
Greek army and took ship for Lesbos. Odysseus, how- 
ever, followed him to the island, and, with his usual tact, 
succeeded in inducing the hero to return to the camp. 

Death of Achilles. A new ally of the Trojans now 
appeared on the field in the person of Memnon, the 
^Ethiopian, a son of Eos and Tithonus, who brought 
with him a powerful reinforcement of negroes. Memnon 
was the first opponent who had yet encountered Achilles 
on an equal footing; for like the great hero himself he 
was the son of a goddess, and possessed also, like Achilles, 
a suit of armour made for him by Hephaestus. 

Before the heroes encountered each other in single 
combat, the two goddesses, Thetis and Eos, hastened to 
Olympus to intercede with its mighty ruler for the life 
of their sons. Resolved even in this instance not to act 
in opposition to the Moir*, Zeus seized the golden scales 


in which he weighed the lot of mortals, and placed in it 
the respective fates of the two heroes, whereupon that of 
Memnon weighed down the balance, thus portending his 

Eos abandoned Olympus in despair. Arrived on the 
battlefield she beheld the lifeless body of her son, who, 
after a long and brave defence, had at length succumbed 
to the all-conquering arm of Achilles. At her command 
her children, the Winds, flew down to the plain, and 
seizing the body of the slain hero conveyed it through 
the air safe from the desecration of the enemy. 

The triumph of Achilles was not of long duration. In- 
toxicated with success he attempted, at the head of the 
Greek army, to storm the city of Troy, when Paris, by 
the aid of Phoebus- Apollo, aimed a well-directed dart at 
the hero, which pierced his vulnerable heel, and he fell to 
the ground fatally wounded before the Sca?an gate. But 
though face to face with death, the intrepid hero, raising 
himself from the ground, still performed prodigies of 
valour, and not until his tottering limbs refused their 
office was the enemy aware that the wound was mortal 

By the combined efforts of Ajax and Odysseus the 
body of Achilles was wrested from the enemy after a 
long and terrible fight, and conveyed to the Greek camp. 
Weeping bitterly over the untimely fate of her gallant 
son, Thetis came to embrace him for the last time, and 
mingled her regrets and lamentations with those of the 
whole Greek army. The funeral pyre was then lighted, 
and the voices of the Muses were heard chanting his 
funeral dirge. When, according to the custom of the 
ancients, the body had been burned on the pyre, the bones 
of the hero were collected, inclosed in a golden urn, and 
deposited beside the remains of his beloved friend 

In the funereal games celebrated in honour of the fallen 
hero, the property of her son was offered by Thetis as 
the prize of victory. But it was unanimously agreed that 
the beautiful suit of armour made by Hephaestus should 
be awarded to him who had contributed the most to the 


rescue of the body from the hands of the enemy. Popu- 
lar opinion unanimously decided in favour of Odysseus, 
which verdict was confirmed by the Trojan prisoners 
who were present at the engagement. Unable to endure 
the slight, the unfortunate Ajax lost his reason, and in 
this condition put an end to his existence. 

Final Measures. Thus were the Greeks deprived 
at one and the same time of their bravest and most 
powerful leader, and of him also who approached the 
nearest to this distinction. For a time operations were 
at a standstill, until Odysseus at length contrived by 
means of a cleverly-arranged ambush to capture Helenus, 
the son of Priam. Like his sister Cassandra, Helenus 
possessed the gift of prophecy, and the unfortunate youth 
was now coerced by Odysseus into using this gift against 
the welfare of his native city. 

The Greeks learned from the Trojan prince that three 
conditions were indispensable to the conquest of Troy: 
In the first place the son of Achilles must fight in their 
ranks; secondly, the arrows of Heracles must be used 
against the enemy; and thirdly, they must obtain posses- 
sion of the wooden image of Pallas-Athene, the famous 
Palladium of Troy. 

The first condition was easily fulfilled. Ever ready to 
serve the interests of the community, Odysseus repaired 
to the island of Scyros, where he found Neoptolemus, 
the son of Achilles. Having succeeded in arousing the 
ambition of the fiery youth, he generously resigned to 
him the magnificent armour of his father, and then con- 
veyed him to the Greek camp, where he immediately 
distinguished himself in single combat with Eurypylus, 
the son of Telephus, who had come to the aid of the 

To procure the poison-dipped arrows of Heracles was 
a matter of greater difficulty. They were still in the 
possession of the much-aggrieved Philoctetes, who had 
remained in the island of Lemnos, his wound still un- 
healed, suffering the most abject misery. But the judi- 


cious zeal of the indefatigable and ever-active Odysseus, 
who was accompanied in this undertaking by Diomedes, 
at length gained the day, and he induced Philoctetes to 
accompany him to the camp, where the skilful leech 
Machaon, the son of Asclepias, healed him of his wound. 

Philoctetes became reconciled to Agamemnon, and in 
an engagement which took place soon after, he mortally 
wounded Paris, the son of Priam. But though pierced 
by the fatal arrow of the demi-god, death did not im- 
mediately ensue; and Paris, calling to mind the predic- 
tion of an oracle, that his deserted wife GEnone could 
alone cure him if wounded, caused himself to be trans- 
ported to her abode on Mount Ida, where he implored 
her by the memory of their past love to save his life. 
But mindful only of her wrongs, QEnone crushed out of 
her heart every womanly feeling of pity and compassion, 
and sternly bade him depart. Soon, however, all her 
former affection for her husband awoke within her. 
With frantic haste she followed him; but on her arrival 
in the city she found the dead body of Paris already laid 
on the lighted funeral pile, and, in her remorse and de- 
spair, CEnone threw herself on the lifeless form of her 
husband and perished in the flames. 

The Trojans were now shut up within their walls and 
closely besieged; but the third and most difficult condi- 
tion being still unfulfilled, all efforts to take the city were 
unavailing. In this emergency the wise and devoted 
Odysseus came once more to the aid of his comrades. 
Having disfigured himself with self-inflicted wounds, he 
assumed the disguise of a wretched old mendicant, and 
then crept stealthily into the city in order to discover 
where the Palladium was preserved. He succeeded in 
his object, and was recognized by no one save the fair 
Helen, who after the death of Paris had been given in 
marriage to bin brother Deiphobus. But since death had 
robbed her of her lover, the heart of the Greek princess 
had turned yearningly towards her native country and 
her husband Menelaus, and Odysseus now found in her 
a most unlooked-for ally. On his return to the camp 


Odysseus called to his aid the valiant Diomedes, and 
with his assistance the perilous task of abstracting the 
Palladium from its sacred precincts was, after some diffi- 
culty, effected. 

The conditions of conquest being now fulfilled, a 
council was called to decide on final proceedings. Epeios, 
a Greek sculptor, who had accompanied the expedition, 
was desired to construct a colossal wooden horse large 
enough to contain a number of able and distinguished 
heroes. On its completion a band of warriors concealed 
themselves within, whereupon the Greek army broke up 
their camp, and then set fire to it, as though, wearied of 
the long and tedious ten years' siege, they had abandoned 
the enterprise as hopeless. 

Accompanied by Agamemnon and the sage Nestor, 
the fleet set sail for the island of Tenedos, where they 
cast anchor, anxiously awaiting the torch signal to hasten 
back to the Trojan coast. 

Destruction of Troy. When the Trojans saw the 
enemy depart, and the Greek camp in flames, they be- 
lieved themselves safe at last, and streamed in great 
numbers out of the town in order to view the site where 
the Greeks had so long encamped. Here they found the 
gigantic wooden horse, which they examined with won- 
dering curiosity, various opinions being expressed with 
regard to its utility. Some supposed it to be an engine 
of war, and were in favour of destroying it, others re- 
garded it as a sacred idol, and proposed that it should be 
brought into the city. Two circumstances which now 
occurred induced the Trojans to incline towards the 
latter opinion. 

Chief among those who suspected a treacherous design 
in this huge contrivance was Laocoon, a priest of Apollo, 
who, in company with his two young SO T , had issued 
from the city with the Trojans in order to offer a sacri- 
fice to the gods. With all the eloquence at his command 
he urged his countrymen not to place confidence in any 
gift of the Greeks, and even went so far as to pierce the 



side of the horse with a spear which he took from a 
warrior beside him, whereupon the arms of the heroes 
were heard to rattle. The hearts of the brave men 
concealed inside the horse quailed within them, and they 
had already given themselves up for lost, when Pallas- 
Athene, who ever watched over the cause of the Greeks, 
now came to their aid, and a miracle occurred in order to 
blind and deceive the devoted Trojans; for the fall of 
Troy was decreed by the gods. 

Whilst Laocoon with his two sons stood prepared 
to perform the sacrifice, two enormous serpents sud- 
denly rose out of the sea, 
and made direct for the 
altar. They entwined 
themselves first round the 
tender limbs of the help- 
less youths, and then en- 
circled their father who 
rushed to their assistance, 
and thus all three were 
destroyed in sight of the 
horrified multitude. The 
Trojans naturally inter- 
preted the fate of Laocoon 
and his sons to be a pun- 
ishment sent by Zeus for 
his sacrilege against the 
wooden horse, and were 

now fully convinced that 
it must be consecrated to the gods. 

The crafty Odysseus had left behind his trusty friend 
Sinon with full instructions as to his course of action. 
Assuming the role assigned to him, he now approached 
king Priam with fettered hands and piteous entreaties, 
alleging that the Greeks, in obedience to the command 
of an oracle, had attempted to immolate him as a sacrifice; 
but that he had contrived to escape from their hands, 
and now sought protection from the king. 

The kind-hearted monarch, believing his story, released 


his bonds, assured him of his favour, and then begged 
him to explain the true meaning of the wooden horse. 
Sinon willingly complied. He informed the king that 
Pallas- Athene, who had hitherto been the hope and stay 
of the Greeks throughout the war, was so deeply offended 
at the removal of her sacred image, the Palladium, from 
her temple in Troy, that she had withdrawn her protection 
from the Greeks, and refused all further aid till it was 
restored to its rightful place. Hence the Greeks had 
returned home in order to seek fresh instructions from 
an oracle. But before leaving, Calchas the seer had 
advised their building this gigantic wooden horse as a 
tribute to the offended goddess, hoping thereby to appease 
her just anger. He further explained that it had been 
constructed of such .colossal proportions in order to pre- 
vent its being brought into the city, so that the favour 
of Pallas-Athene might not be transferred to the Trojans. 

Hardly had the crafty Sinon ceased speaking when the 
Trojans, with one accord, urged that the wooden horse 
should be brought into their city without delay. The 
gates being too low to admit its entrance, a breach was 
made in the walls, and the horse was conveyed in triumph 
into the very heart of Troy; whereupon the Trojans, 
overjoyed at what they deemed the successful issue of the 
campaign, abandoned themselves to feasting and rioting. 

Amidst the universal rejoicing the unhappy Cassandra, 
foreseeing the result of the admission of the wooden 
horse into the city, was seen rushing through the streets 
with wild gestures and dishevelled hair, warning her 
people against the dangers which awaited them. But 
her eloquent Avords fell on deaf ears; for it was ever 
the fate of the unfortunate prophetess that her predic- 
tions should find no credence. 

When, after the day's excitement, the Trojans had 
retired to rest, and all was hushed and silent, Sinon, in 
the dead of night, released the heroes from their volun- 
tary imprisonment. The signal was then given to the 
Greek fleet lying off Tenedos, and the whole army in 
unbroken silence once more landed on the Trojan coast. 


To enter the city was now an easy matter, and a fear- 
ful slaughter ensued. Aroused from their slumbers, the 
Trojans, under the command of their bravest leaders, 
made a gallant defence, but were easily overcome. All 
their most valiant heroes fell in the fight, and soon the 
whole city was wrapt in flames. 

Priam fell by the hand of Neoptolemus, who killed 
him as he lay prostrate before the altar of Zeus, praying 
for divine assistance in this awful hour of peril. The 
unfortunate Andromache with her young son Astyanax 
had taken refuge on the summit of a tower, where she 
was discovered by the victors, w r ho, fearing lest the son 
of Hector might one day rise against them to avenge the 
death of his father, tore him from her arms and hurled 
him over the battlements. 

-^Eneas alone, the son of Aphrodite, the beloved of 
gods and men, escaped the universal carnage with his 
son and his old father Anchises, whom he carried on his 
shoulders out of the city. He first sought refuge on 
Mount Ida, and afterwards fled to Italy, where he became 
the ancestral hero of the Eoman people. 

Menelaus now sought Helen in the royal palace, who, 
being immortal, still retained all her former beauty and 
fascination. A reconciliation took place, and she accom- 
panied her husband on his homeward voyage. Andro- 
mache, the widow of the brave Hector, was given in 
marriage to Neoptolemus, Cassandra fell to the share of 
Agamemnon, and Hecuba, the gray-haired and widowed 
queen, was made prisoner by Odysseus. 

The boundless treasures of the wealthy Trojan king 
fell into the hands of the Greek heroes, who. after having 
levelled the city of Troy to the ground, prepared for their 
homeward voyage. 


During the sacking of the city of Troy the Greeks, in the 
hour of victory, committed many acts of desecration and 
cruelty, which called down upon them the wrath of the 


gods, for which reason their homeward voyage was beset 
with manifold dangers and disasters, and many perished 
before they reached their native land. 

Nestor, Diomedes, Philoctetes, and Neoptolemus were 
among those who arrived safely in Greece after a pros- 
perous voyage. The vessel which carried Menelaus and 
Helen was driven by violent tempests to the coast of 
Egypt, and only after many years of weary wanderings 
and vicissitudes did they succeed in reaching their home 
at Sparta. 

Ajax the Lesser having offended Pallas-Athene by 
desecrating her temple on the night of the destruction of 
Troy, was shipwrecked off Cape Caphareus. He suc- 
ceeded, however, in clinging to a rock, and his life nrght 
have been spared but for his impious boast that he 
needed not the help of the gods. No sooner had he 
uttered the sacrilegious words than Poseidon, enraged at 
his audacity, split with his trident the rock to which the 
hero was clinging, and the unfortunate Ajax was over- 
whelmed by the waves. 

Pate of Agamemnon. The homeward voyage of 
Agamemnon was tolerably uneventful and prosperous; 
but on his arrival at Mycenae misfortune and ruin awaited 

His wife Clytemnestra, in revenge for the sacrifice of 
her beloved daughter Iphigenia, had formed a secret 
alliance during his absence with ^Egisthus, the son of 
Thyestes, and on the return of Agamemnon they both 
conspired to compass his destruction. Clytemnestra 
feigned the greatest joy on beholding her husband, and 
in spite of the urgent warnings of Cassandra, who was 
now a captive in his train, he received her protestations 
of affection with the most trusting confidence. In her 
well-assumed anxiety for the comfort of the weary tra- 
veller, she prepared a warm bath for his refreshment, and 
at a given signal from the treacherous queen, ^Egisthus, 
who was concealed in an adjoining chamber, rushed upon 
the defenceless hero and slew him. 

(73) V 


During the massacre of the retainers of Agamemnon 
which followed, his daughter Electra, with great presence 
of mind, contrived to save her young brother Orestes. 
He fled for refuge to his uncle Strophius, king of Phocis, 
who educated him with his own son Pylades, and an 
ardent friendship sprung up between the youths, which, 
from its constancy and disinterestedness, has become 

As Orestes grew up to manhood, his one great all- 
absorbing desire was to avenge the death of his father. 
Accompanied by his faithful friend Pylades, he repaired 
in disguise to Mycenae, where ^Egisthus and Clytemnestra 
reigned conjointly over the kingdom of Argos. In order 
to disarm suspicion he had taken the precaution to 
despatch a messenger to Clytemnestra, purporting to be 
sent by king Strophius, to announce to her the untimely 
death of her son Orestes through an accident during a 
chariot-race at Delphi. 

Arrived at Mycenae, he found his sister Electra so 
overwhelmed with grief at the news of her brother's 
death that to her he revealed his identity. When he 
heard from her lips how cruelly she had been treated by 
her mother, and how joyfully the news of his demise had 
been received, his long pent-up passion completely over- 
powered him, and rushing into the presence of the king 
and queen, he first pierced Clytemnestra to the heart, 
and afterwards her guilty partner. 

But the crime of murdering his own mother was not 
long unavenged by the gods. Hardly was the fatal act 
committed when the Furies appeared and unceasingly 
pursued the unfortunate Orestes wherever he went. In 
this wretched plight he sought refuge in the temple of 
Delphi, where he earnestly besought Apollo to release 
him from his cruel tormentors. The god commanded 
him, in expiation of his crime, to repair to Taurica-Cher- 
sonnesus and convey the statue of Artemis from thence 
to the kingdom of Attica, an expedition fraught with 
extreme peril. We have already seen in a former chapter 
how Orestes escaped the fate which befell all strangers 


who landed on the Taurian coast, and how, with the aid 
of his sister Iphigenia, the priestess of the temple, he 
succeeded in conveying the statue of the goddess to his 
native country. 

But the Furies did not so easily relinquish their prey, 
and only by means of the interposition of the just and 
powerful goddess Pallas-Athene was Orestes finally 
liberated from their persecution. His peace of mind 
being at length restored, Orestes assumed the govern- 
ment of the kingdom of Argos, and became united to the 
beautiful Hermione, daughter of Helen and Menelaus. 
On his faithful friend Pylades he bestowed the hand of 
his beloved sister, the good and faithful Electra. 

Homeward Voyage of Odysseus. With his twelve 
ships laden with enormous treasures, captured during the 
sacking of Troy, Odysseus set sail with a light heart for 
his rocky island home of Ithaca. At length the happy 
hour had arrived which for ten long years the hero had 
so anxiously awaited, and he little dreamt that ten more 
must elapse before he would be permitted by the Fates 
to clasp to his heart his beloved wife and child. 

During his homeward voyage his little fleet was driven 
by stress of weather to a land whose inhabitants subsisted 
entirely on a curious plant called the lotus, which was 
sweet as honey to the taste, but had the effect of causing 
utter oblivion of home arid country, and of creating an 
irresistible longing to remain for ever in the land of the 
lotus-eaters. Odysseus and his companions were hospit- 
ably received by the inhabitants, who regaled them freely 
with their peculiar and very delicious food; after partaking 
of which, however, the comrades of the hero refused to 
leave the country, and it was only by sheer force that he 
at length succeeded in bringing them back to their ships. 

Polyphemus. Continuing their journey, they next 
arrived at the country of the Cyclops, a race of giants 
remarkable for having only one eye, which was placed 
in the centre of their foreheads. Here Odysseus, whose 
love of adventure overcame more prudent considerations, 


left his fleet safely anchored in the bay of a neighbouring 
island, and with twelve chosen companions set out to 
explore the country. 

Near the shore they found a vast cave, into which they 
boldly entered. In the interior they saw to their surprise 
huge piles of cheese and great pails of milk ranged round 
the walls. After partaking freely of these provisions his 
companions endeavoured to persuade Odysseus to return 
to the ship; but the hero being curious to make the 
acquaintance of the owner of this extraordinary abode, 
ordered them to remain and await his pleasure. 

Towards evening a fierce giant made his appearance, 
bearing an enormous load of wood upon his shoulders, and 
driving before him a large flock of sheep. This was 
Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, the owner of the cave. 
After all his sheep had entered, the giant rolled before 
the entrance to the cave an enormous rock, which the 
combined strength of a hundred men would have been 
powerless to move. 

Having kindled a fire of great logs of pine-wood he 
was about to prepare his supper when the flames revealed 
to him, in a corner of the cavern, its new occupants, who 
now came forward and informed him that they were 
shipwrecked mariners, and claimed his hospitality in the 
name of Zeus. But the fierce monster railed at the 
great ruler of Olympus for the lawless Cyclops knew no 
fear of the gods and hardly vouchsafed a reply to the 
demand of the hero. To the consternation of Odysseus 
the giant seized two of his companions, and, after dash- 
ing them to the ground, consumed their remains, wash- 
ing down the ghastly meal with huge draughts of milk. 
He then stretched his gigantic limbs on the ground, and 
soon fell fast asleep beside the fire. 

Thinking the opportunity a favourable one to rid him- 
self and his companions of their terrible enemy, Odysseus 
drew his sword, and, creeping stealthily forward, was 
about to slay the giant when he suddenly remembered 
that the aperture of the cave was effectually closed by the 
immense rock, which rendered egress impossible. He 


therefore wisely determined to wait until the following 
day, and set his wits to work in the meantime to devise 
a scheme by which he and his companions might make 
their escape. 

When, early next morning, the giant awoke, two more 
unfortunate companions of the hero were seized by him 
and devoured; after which Polyphemus leisurely drove 
out his flock, taking care to secure the entrance of the 
cave as before. 

Next evening the giant devoured two more of his 
victims, and when he had finished his revolting meal 
Odysseus stepped forward and presented him with a 
large measure of wine which he had brought with him 
from his ship in a goat's skin. Delighted with the 
delicious beverage the giant inquired the name of tne 
donor. Odysseus replied that his name was Noman, 
whereupon Polyphemus graciously announced that he 
would evince his gratitude by eating him the last. 

The monster, thoroughly overcome with the powerful 
old liquor, soon fell into a heavy sleep, and Odysseus lost 
no time in putting his plans into execution. He had cut 
during the day a large piece of the giant's own olive-staff, 
which he now heated in the fire, and, aided by his com- 
panions, thrust it into the eye-ball of Polyphemus, and 
in this manner effectually blinded him. 

The giant made the cave resound with his howls of 
pain and rage. His cries being heard by his brother 
Cyclops, who lived in caves not far distant from his own, 
they soon came trooping over the hills from all sides, 
and assailed the door of the cave with inquiries concern- 
ing the cause of his cries and groans. But as his only 
reply was, " Noman has injured me," they concluded 
that he had been playing them a trick, and therefore 
abandoned him to his fate. 

The blinded giant now groped vainly round his cave 
in hopes of laying hands on some of his tormentors ; but 
wearied at length of these fruitless exertions he rolled 
away the rock which closed the aperture, thinking that 
his victims would rush out with the sheep, when it would 


be an easy matter to capture them. But in the mean- 
time Odysseus had not been idle, and the subtlety of 
the hero was now brought into play, and proved more 
than a match for the giant's strength. The sheep were 
very large, and Odysseus, with bands of willow taken 
from the bed of Polyphemus, had cleverly linked them 
together three abreast, and under each centre one had 
secured one of his comrades. After providing for the 
safety of his companions, Odysseus himself selected the 
finest ram of the flock, and, by clinging to the wool of 
the animal, made his escape. As the sheep passed out 
of the cave the giant felt carefully among them for his 
victims, but not finding them on the backs of the animals 
he let them pass, and thus they all escaped. 

They now hastened on board their vessel, and Odys- 
seus, thinking himself at a safe distance, shouted out 
his real name and mockingly defied the giant; where- 
upon Polyphemus seized a huge rock, and, following the 
direction of the voice, hurled it towards the ship, which 
narrowly escaped destruction. He then called upon his 
father Poseidon to avenge him, entreating him to curse 
Odysseus with a long and tedious voyage, to destroy all 
his ships and all his companions, and to make his return 
as late, as unhappy, and as desolate as possible. 

Further Adventures. After sailing about over un- 
known seas for some time the hero and his followers cast 
anchor at the island of yEolus. king of the Winds, who 
welcomed them cordially, and sumptuously entertained 
them for a whole month. 

When they took their leave he gave Odysseus the skin 
of an ox, into which he had placed all the contrary winds 
in order to insure to them a safe and speedy voyage, and 
then, having cautioned him on no account to open it, 
caused the gentle Zephyrus to blow so that he might 
waft them to the shores of Greece. 

On the evening of the tenth day after their departure 
they arrived in sight of the watch-fires of Ithaca. But 
here, unfortunately, Odysseus, being completely wearied 


out, fell asleep, and his comrades, thinking ^Eolus had 
given him a treasure in the bag which he so sedulously 
guarded, seized this opportunity of opening it, where- 
upon all the adverse winds rushed out, and drove them 
back to the ^Eolian island. This time, however, ^Eolus 
did not welcome them as before, but dismissed them 
with bitter reproaches and upbraidings for their disregard 
of his injunctions. 

After a six days' voyage they at length sighted land. 
Observing what appeared to be the smoke from a large 
town, Odysseus despatched a herald, accompanied by two 
of his comrades, in order to procure provisions. When 
they arrived in the city they discovered to their con- 
sternation that they had set foot in the land of the Laes- 
trygones, a race of fierce and gigantic cannibals, governed 
by their king Antiphates. The unfortunate herald was 
seized and killed by the king; but his two companions, 
who took to flight, succeeded in reaching their ship in 
safety, and urgently entreated their chief to put to sea 
without delay. 

But Antiphates and his fellow-giants pursued the fugi- 
tives to the sea-shore, where they now appeared in large 
numbers. They seized huge rocks, which they hurled 
upon the fleet, sinking eleven of the ships with all hands 
on board; the vessel under the immediate command of 
Odysseus being the only one which escaped destruction. 
In this ship, with his few remaining followers, Odysseus 
now set sail, but was driven by adverse winds to an 
island called 

Circe. The hero and his companions were in sore need 
of provisions, but, warned by previous disasters, Odysseus 
resolved that only a certain number of the ship's crew 
should be despatched to reconnoitre the country; and on 
lots being drawn by Odysseus and Eurylochus, it fell to 
the share of the latter to fill the office of conductor to 
the little band selected for this purpose. 

They soon came to a magnificent marble palace, which 
was situated in a charming and fertile valley. Here 


dwelt a beautiful enchantress called Circe, daughter of 
the sun-god and the sea-nymph Perse. The entrance to 
her abode was guarded by wolves and lions, who, how- 
ever, to the great surprise of the strangers, were tame and 
harmless as lambs. These were, in fact, human beings who, 
by the wicked arts of the sorceress, had been thus trans- 
formed. From within they heard the enchanting voice of 
the goddess, who was singing a sweet melody as she sat at 
her work, weaving a web such as immortals alone could pro- 
duce. She graciously invited them to enter, and all save the 
prudent and cautious Eurylochus accepted the invitation. 

As they trod the wide and spacious halls of tesselated 
marble objects of wealth and beauty met their view on 
all sides. The soft and luxuriant couches on which she 
bade them be seated were studded with silver, and the 
banquet which she provided for their refreshment was 
served in vessels of pure gold. But while her unsuspect- 
ing guests were abandoning themselves to the pleasures of 
the table the wicked enchantress was secretly working 
their ruin; for the wine-cup which was presented to them 
was drugged with a potent draught, after partaking of 
which the sorceress touched them with her magic wand, 
and they were immediately transformed into swine, still, 
however, retaining their human senses. 

When Odysseus heard from Eurylochus of the terrible 
fate which had befallen his companions he set out, 
regardless of personal danger, resolved to make an effort 
to rescue them. On his way to the palace of the sor- 
ceress he met a fair youth bearing a wand of gold, who 
revealed himself to him as Hermes, the divine messenger 
of the gods. He gently reproached the hero for his 
temerity in venturing to enter the abode of Circe un- 
provided with an antidote against her spells, and pre- 
sented him with a peculiar herb called Moly, assuring 
him that it would inevitably counteract the baneful arts 
of the fell enchantress. Hermes warned Odysseus that 
Circe would offer him a draught of drugged wine with 
the intention of transforming him as she had done his 
companions. He bade him drink the wine, the effect of 


which would be completely nullified by the herb which 
he had given him, and then rush boldly at the sorceress 
as though he would take her life, whereupon her power 
over him would cease, she would recognize her master, 
and grant him whatever he might desire. 

Circe received the hero with all the grace and fascina- 
tion at her command, and presented him with a draught 
of "wine in a golden goblet. This he readily accepted, 
trusting to the efficacy of the antidote. Then, in 
obedience to the injunction of Hermes, he drew his 
sword from its scabbard and rushed upon the sorceress 
as though he would slay her. 

When Circe found that her fell purpose was for the 
first time frustrated, and that a mortal had dared 
to attack her, she knew that it must be the great 
Odysseus who stood before her, whose visit to her abode 
had been foretold to her by Hennes. At his solicitation 
she restored to his companions their human form, 
promising at the same time that henceforth the hero and 
his comrades should be free from her enchantments. 

But all warnings and past experience were forgotten 
by Odysseus when Circe commenced to exercise upon him 
her fascinations and blandishments. At her request his 
companions took up their abode in the island, and he 
himself became the guest and slave of the enchantress 
for a whole year; and it was only at the earnest admoni- 
tion of his friends that he was at length induced to free 
himself from her toils. 

Circe had become so attached to the gallant hero that 
it cost her a great effort to part with him, but having 
vowed not to exercise her magic spells against him she 
was powerless to detain him further. The goddess now 
warned him that his future would be beset with many 
dangers, and commanded him to consult the blind old 
seer Tiresias, 1 in the realm of Hades, concerning his 
future destiny. She then loaded his ship with provisions 
for the voyage, and reluctantly bade him farewell 

1 Tiresias alone, of all the shades, was in full possession of his mental 


The Realm of Shades. Though somewhat appalled 
at the prospect of seeking the weird and gloomy realms 
inhabited by the spirits of the dead, Odysseus never- 
theless obeyed the command of the goddess, who gave 
him full directions with regard to his course, and also 
certain injunctions which it was important that he should 
carry out with strict attention to detail 

He accordingly set sail with his companions for the 
dark and gloomy land of the Cimmerians, which lay at 
the furthermost end of the world, beyond the great 
stream Oceanus. Favoured by gentle breezes they soon 
reached their destination in the far west. On arriving at 
the spot indicated by Circe, where the turbid waters of 
the rivers Acheron and Cocytus mingled at the entrance 
to the lower world, Odysseus landed, unattended by his 

Having dug a trench to re eive the blood of the sacri- 
fices he now offered a black ram and ewe to the powers 
of darkness, whereupon crowds of shades rose up from 
the yawning gulf, clustering round him, eager to quaff 
the blood of the sacrifice, which would restore to them 
for a time their mental vigour. But mindful of the in- 
junction of Circe, Odysseus brandished his sword, and 
suffered none to approach until Tiresias had appeared. 
The great prophet now came slowly forward leaning on 
his golden staff, and after drinking of the sacrifice pro- 
ceeded to impart to Odysseus the hidden secrets of his 
future fate. Tiresias also warned him of the numerous 
perils which would assail him, not only during his home- 
ward voyage but also on his return to Ithaca, and then 
instructed him how to avoid them. 

Meanwhile numbers of other shades had quaffed the 
sense-awakening draught of the sacrifice, among whom 
Odysseus recognized to his dismay his tenderly-loved 
mother Anticlea. From her he learned that she had died 
of grief at her son's protracted absence, and that his aged 
father Laertes was wearing his life away in vain and an- 
xious longings for his return. He also conversed with the 
ill-fate'd Agamemnon, Patroclus, and Achilles. The latter 


bemoaned his shadowy and unreal existence, and plain- 
tively assured his former companion-in-arms that rather 
would he be the poorest day-labourer on earth than reign 
supreme as king over the realm of shades. Ajax alone, 
who still brooded over his wrongs, held aloof, refusing to 
converse with Odysseus, and sullenly retired when the 
hero addressed him. 

But at last so many shades came swarming round him 
that the courage of Odysseus failed him, and he fled in 
terror back to his ship. Having rejoined his companions 
they once more put to sea, and proceeded on their home- 
ward voyage. 

The Sirens. After some days' sail their course led 
them past the island of the Sirens. 

Now Circe had warned Odysseus on no account to 
listen to the seductive melodies of these treacherous 
nymphs ; for that all who gave ear to their enticing strains 
felt an unconquerable desire to leap overboard and join 
them, when they either perished at their hands, or were 
engulfed by the waves. 

In order that his crew should not hear the song of the 
Sirens, Odysseus had filled their ears with melted wax; 
but the hero himself so dearly loved adventure that he 
could not resist the temptation of braving this new danger. 
By his own desire, therefore, he was lashed to the mast, 
and his comrades had strict orders on no account to 
release him until they were out of sight of the island, no 
matter how he might implore them to set him free. 

As they neared the fatal shore they beheld the Sirens 
seated side by side on the verdant slopes of their island; 
and as their sweet and alluring strains fell upon his ear 
the hero became so powerfully affected by them, that, 
forgetful of all danger, he entreated his comrades to release 
him ; but the sailors, obedient to their orders, refused to 
unbind him until the enchanted island had disappeared 
from view. The danger past, the hero gratefully acknow- 
ledged the firmness of his followers, which had been the 
means of saving his life. 


The Island of Helios. They now approached the 
terrible dangers of Scylla and Charybdis, between which 
Circe had desired them to pass. As Odysseus steered 
the vessel beneath the great rock, Scylla swooped down 
and seized six of his crew from the deck, and the cries of 
her wretched victims long rang in his ears. At length 
they reached the island of Trinacria (Sicily), whereon the 
sun-god pastured his flocks and herds, and Odysseus, 
calling to mind the warning of Tiresias to avoid this 
sacred island, would fain have steered the vessel past and 
left the country unexplored. But his crew became 
mutinous, and insisted on landing. Odysseus was there- 
fore obliged to yield, but before allowing them to set 
foot on shore he made them take an oath not to touch the 
sacred herds of Helios, and to be ready to sail again on 
the following morning. 

It happened, unfortunately, however, that stress of 
weather compelled them to remain a whole month at 
Trinacria, and the store of wine and food given to them 
by Circe at parting being completely exhausted, they were 
obliged to subsist on what fish and birds the island af- 
forded. Frequently there was not sufficient to satisfy their 
hunger, and one evening when Odysseus, worn out with 
anxiety and fatigue, had fallen asleep, Eurylochus per- 
suaded the hungry men to break their vows and kill 
some of the sacred oxen. 

Dreadful was the anger of Helios, who caused the hides 
of the slaughtered animals to creep and the joints on the 
spits to bellow like living cattle, and threatened that un- 
less Zeus punished the impious crew he would withdraw 
his light from the heavens and shine only in Hades. 
Anxious to appease the enraged deity Zeus assured him 
that his cause should be avenged. When, therefore, after 
feasting for seven days Odysseus and his companions 
again set sail, the ruler of Olympus caused a terrible 
storm to overtake them, during which the ship was struck 
with lightning and went to pieces. All the crew were 
drowned except Odysseus, who, clinging to a mast, floated 
about in the open sea for nine days, when, after once more 


escaping being sucked in by the whirlpool of Charybdis, 
he was cast ashore on the island of Ogygia. 

Calypso. Ogygia was an island covered with dense 
forests, where, in the midst of a grove of cypress and 
poplar, stood the charming grotto-palace of the nymph 
Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas. The entrance to 
the grotto was entwined with a leafy trellis-work of vine- 
branches, from which depended clusters of purple and 
golden grapes ; the plashing of fountains gave a delicious 
sense of coolness to the air, which was filled with the 
songs of birds, and the ground was carpeted with violets 
and mosses. 

Calypso cordially welcomed the forlorn and ship- 
wrecked hero, and hospitably ministered to his wants. 
In the course of time she became so greatly attached to 
him that she offered him immortality and eternal youth 
if he would consent to remain with her for ever. But 
the heart of Odysseus turned yearningly towards his 
beloved wife Penelope and his young son. He therefore 
refused the boon, and earnestly entreated the gods to 
permit him to revisit his home. But the curse of Poseidon 
still followed the unfortunate hero, and for seven long 
years he was detained on the island by Calypso, sorely 
against his will. 

At length Pallas-Athene interceded with her mighty 
father on his behalf, and Zeus, yielding to her request, 
forthwith despatched the fleet-footed Hermes to Calypso, 
commanding her to permit Odysseus to depart and to 
provide him with the means of transport. 

The goddess, though loath to part with her guest, 
dared not disobey the commands of the mighty Zeus. 
She therefore instructed the hero how to construct a 
raft, for which she herself wove the sails. Odysseus 
now bade her farewell, and alone and unaided embarked 
on the frail little craft for his native land. 

Nausicaa. For seventeen days Odysseus contrived 
to pilot the raft skilfully through all the perils of the 
deep, directing his course according to the directions 


of Calypso, and guided by the stars of heaven. On the 
eighteenth day he joyfully hailed the distant outline of 
the Phaeacian coast, and began to look forward hopefully 
to temporary rest and shelter. But Poseidon, still enraged 
with the hero who had blinded and insulted his son, caused 
an awful tempest to arise, during which the raft was 
swamped by the waves, and Odysseus only saved himself 
by clinging for bare life to a portion of the wreck 

For two days and nights he floated about, drifted 
hither and thither by the angry billows, till at last, after 
many a narrow escape of his life, the sea-goddess Leu- 
cothea came to his aid, and he was cast ashore on the 
coast of Scheria, the island of the luxurious Phaeaces. 
Worn out with the hardships and dangers he had 
passed through he crept into a thicket for security, and, 
lying down on a bed of dried leaves, soon fell fast asleep. 

It chanced that Nausicaa, the beautiful daughter of 
king Alcinous and his queen Arete, had come down to 
the shore, accompanied by her maidens, to wash the linen 
which was destined to form part of her marriage portion. 
When they had finished their task they bathed and sat 
down to a repast, after which they amused themselves 
with singing and playing at ball. 

Their joyous shouts at last awoke Odysseus, who, 
rising from his hiding-place, suddenly found himself in 
the midst of the happy group. Alarmed at his wild 
aspect the attendants of Nausicaa fled in terror; but the 
princess, pitying the forlorn condition of the stranger, 
addressed him with kind and sympathetic words. After 
hearing from him the account of his shipwreck and the 
terrible hardships he had undergone, Nausicaa called back 
her attendants, reproached them for their want of courtesy, 
and bade them supply the wanderer with food, drink, and 
suitable raiment. Odysseus then left the maidens to re- 
sume their games, whilst he bathed and clothed himself 
with the garments with which they had furnished him. 
Athene now appeared to the hero ( and endowed him 
with a commanding and magnificent stature, and with 
more than mortal beauty. When he reappeared, the young 


princess was struck with admiration, and requested the 
hero to visit the palace of her father. She then desired 
her attendants to yoke the mules to the wagons and pre- 
pare to return home. 

Odysseus was cordially received by the king and 
queen, who entertained him with magnificent hospitality, 
and in return for their kindness the hero related to them 
the history of his long and eventful voyage, and the many 
extraordinary adventures and miraculous escapes which 
had befallen him since his departure from the coast of 

When he at last took leave of his royal entertainers 
Alcinous loaded him with rich gifts, and ordered him to 
be conveyed in one of his own ships to Ithaca. 

Arrival at Ithaca. The voyage was a short and 
prosperous one. By the direction of king Alcinous rich 
furs had been laid on deck for the comfort of his guest, 
on which the hero, leaving the guidance of the ship to 
the Phseacian sailors, soon fell into a deep sleep. When 
next morning the vessel arrived in the harbour of Ithaca 
the sailors, concluding that so unusually profound a 
slumber must be sent by the gods, conveyed him on 
shore without disturbing him, where they gently placed 
him beneath the cool shade of an olive-tree. 

When Odysseus awoke he knew not where he was, for 
his ever-watchful protectress Pallas- Athene had enveloped 
him in a thick cloud in order to conceal him from view. 
She now appeared to him in the disguise of a shepherd, 
and informed him that he was in his native land ; that 
his father Laertes, bent Avith sorrow and old age, had 
withdrawn from the court ; that his son Telemachus had 
grown to manhood, and was gone to seek for tidings of 
his father ; and that his wife Penelope was harassed by 
the importunities of numerous suitors, who had taken 
possession of his home and devoured his substance. In 
order to gain time Penelope had promised to marry one 
of her lovers as soon as she had finished weaving a robe 
for the aged Laertes ; but by secretly undoing at night 


what she had done in the day she effectually retarded 
the completion of the work, and thus deferred her final 
reply. Just as Odysseus had set foot in Ithaca the angry 
suitors had discovered her stratagem, and had become in 
consequence more clamorous than ever. When the hero 
heard that this was indeed his native land, which, after 
an absence of twenty years, the gods had at length per- 
mitted him to behold once more, he threw himself on the 
ground, and kissed it in an ecstacy of joy. 

The goddess, who had meanwhile revealed her identity 
to Odysseus, now assisted him to conceal in a neighbouring 
cave the valuable gifts of the Phaeacian king. Then 
seating herself beside him she consulted Avith him as to 
the best means of ridding his palace of its shameless 

In order to prevent his being recognized she caused 
him to assume the form of an aged mendicant. His 
limbs became decrepid, his brown locks vanished, his 
eyes grew dim and bleared, and the regal robes given to 
him by king Alcinous were replaced by a tattered garb 
of dingy hue, which hung loosely round his shrunken 
form. Athene then desired him to seek shelter in the 
hut of Eumaeus his own swine-herd. 

Eumaeus received the old beggar hospitably, kindly 
ministered to his wants, and even confided to him his 
distress at the long-continued absence of his beloved old 
master, and his regrets at being compelled by the unruly 
invaders of his house, to slaughter for their use all the 
finest and fattest of the herd. 

It chanced that the following morning Telemachus 
returned from his long and fruitless search for his father, 
and going first to the hut of Eumaeus, heard from him 
the story of the seeming beggar Avhom he promised to 
befriend. Athene now urged Odysseus to make himself 
known to his son; and at her touch his beggar's rags dis- 
appeared, and he stood before Telemachus arrayed in royal 
robes and in the full strength and vigour of manhood. 
So imposing was the appearance of the hero that at first 
the young prince thought he must be a god; but when 


he was convinced that it was indeed his beloved father, 
whose prolonged absence had caused him so much grief, 
he fell upon his neck and embraced him with every ex- 
pression of dutiful affection. 

Odysseus charged Telemachus to keep his .return a 
secret, and concerted with him a plan whereby they 
might rid themselves of the detested suitors. In order 
to carry it into effect Telemachus was to induce his 
mother to promise her hand to the one who could con- 
quer in shooting with the famous bow of Odysseus, which 
the hero had left behind when he went to Troy, deeming 
it too precious a treasure to be taken with him. Odysseus 
now resumed his beggar's dress and appearance and 
accompanied his son to the palace, before the door of 
which lay his faithful dog Argo, who, though worn and 
feeble with age and neglect, instantly recognized his 
master. In his delight the poor animal made a last effort 
to welcome him; but his strength was exhausted, and 
he expired at his feet. 

When Odysseus entered his ancestral halls he was 
mocked and reviled by the riotous suitors, and Antinous, 
the most shameless of them all, ridiculed his abject 
appearance, and insolently bade him depart; but Penelope 
hearing of their cruel conduct, was touched with compas- 
sion, and desired her maidens to bring the poor mendicant 
into her presence. She spoke kindly to him, inquiring 
who he was and whence he came. He told her that he 
was the brother of the king of Crete, in whose palace he 
had seen Odysseus, who was about starting for Ithaca, and 
had declared his intention of arriving there before the 
year was out. The queen, overjoyed at the happy tidings, 
ordered her maidens to prepare a bed for the stranger, 
and to treat him as an honoured guest. She then desired 
the old nurse Euryclea to provide him with suitable 
raiment and to attend to all his wants. 

As the old servant was bathing his feet her eyes fell 
upon a scar which Odysseus had received in his youth 
from the tusks of a wild boar; and instantly recognizing 
the beloved master whom she had nursed as a babe, she 

(78) * 


would have cried aloud in her joy, but the hero placing 
his hand upon her mouth, implored her not to betray him. 

The next day was a festival of Apollo, and the suitors 
in honour of the occasion feasted with more than their 
accustomed revelry. After the banquet was over Penelope, 
taking down the great bow of Odysseus from its place, 
entered the hall and declared that whosoever of her lovers 
could bend it and send an arrow through twelve rings (a 
feat which she had often seen Odysseus perform) should 
be chosen by her as her husband. 

All the suitors tried their skill, but in vain; not one 
possessed the strength required to draw the bow. Odys- 
seus now stepped forward and asked permission to be 
allowed to try, but the haughty nobles mocked at his 
audacity, and would not have permitted it had not Tele- 
machus interfered. The pretended beggar took up the 
bow, and with the greatest ease sent an arrow whizzing 
through the rings; then turning to Antinous, who was just 
raising a goblet of wine to his lips, he pierced him to the 
heart. At this the suitors sprang to their feet and looked 
round for their arms; but in obedience to the instructions 
of Odysseus Telemachus had previously removed them. 
He and his father now attacked the riotous revellers, and 
after a desperate encounter not one of the whole "crew 
remained alive. 

The joyful intelligence of the return of Odysseus being 
conveyed to Penelope she descended to the hall, but refused 
to recognize, in the aged beggar, her gallant husband; 
whereupon he retired to the bath, from which he emerged 
in all the vigour and beauty with which Athene had 
endowed him at the court of Alcinous. But Penelope, 
still incredulous, determined to put him to a sure test. 
She therefore commanded in his hearing that his own 
bed should be brought from his chamber. Now the foot 
of this bed had been fashioned by Odysseus himself out 
of the stem of an olive-tree which was still rooted in the 
ground, and round it he had built the walls of the cham- 
ber. Knowing therefore that the bed could not be moved, 
he exclaimed that the errand was useless, for that no 


mortal could stir it from its place. Then Penelope knew 
that it must be Odysseus himself who stood before her, 
and a most touching and affectionate meeting took place 
between the long-separated husband and wife. 

The following day the hero set out to seek his old 
father Laertes, whom he found on one of his estates in 
the country engaged in digging up a young olive-tree. 
The poor old man, who was dressed in the humble garb 
of a labourer, bore the traces of deep grief on his furrowed 
countenance, and so shocked was his son at the change 
in his appearance that for a moment he turned aside to 
conceal his tears. 

When Odysseus revealed himself to his father as the 
son whom he had so long mourned as lost, the joy of the 
poor old man was almost greater than he could bear. 
With loving care Odysseus led him into the house, where 
at length, for the first time since the departure of his son, 
Laertes once more resumed his regal robes, and piously 
thanked the gods for this great and unlooked-for 

But not yet was the hero permitted to enjoy his well- 
earned repose, for the friends and relatives of the suitors 
now rose in rebellion against him and pursued him to the 
abode of his father. The struggle, however, was but a 
short one. After a brief contest negotiations of a peace- 
ful nature were entered into between Odysseus and his 
subjects. Recognizing the justice of his cause, they be- 
came reconciled to their chief, who for many years con- 
tinued to reign over them. 


[Note. The system of pronunciation here followed is the English system, 
because it is the one at present most used among English speaking peoples. 
In it the letters have substantially their English sound. Upon the continent 
of Europe the pronunciation of Latin and Greek is in like manner made to 
correspond in each nation to the pronunciation of its own language, and thus 
there is much diversity among the continental systems, though they resem- 
ble each other more closely than they do the English. In England and 
America also the continental methods of pronunciation have been extensively 
used. Thus ^Eneas may be pronounced A-na'-ahss ; Aides ah-ee'-daze. Since 
the true, the ancient, pronunciation has been lost, and, as many contend, can- 
not be even substantially recovered, it is a matter of individual preference 
what system shall be followed.] 


Abderus (ab-dee'-rus), 244. , 

Absyrtus (ab-sir'-tus), 226. 

Academus (ak-a-dee'-mus), 268. 

Achelous (ak-e-lo'-us), 254, 278. 

Acheron (ak'-e-ron), 132, 250. 

Achilles (a-kil'-leez), 131, 291,287,297. 

Acis (S'-sis), 105, 167. 

Acrisius (a-crish'-e-us). 189, 205, 209. 

Acropolis (a-crop'-o-hs), 189. 

Actajon (ak-tee'-on). 91. 

Admete (ad-mee'-te), 244 

Admetus (ad-mee'-tus), 76, 119, 216. 

Adonis (S-don'-iss), 59. 

Adrastia (ad-ras-ti'-ah), 142. 

Adrastus (a-dras'-tus), 272. 

^Eacus (ee'-a-cus), 34. 

^Eaea (ee-ee'-ah), island of. 67. 

JSgean Sea (eo-gee'-anK 287. 

* ^Bgeus(ee'-juce), 2.39, 262, 264. 

^Egina (ee-ii'-nah), island of, 230. 

M\* (ee'-jiss), 26. 

xEgisthus (ee-jiss'-thus, Hi as in both), 


ptus (ee-jip'-tus), 135. 

M*\e (egg'-le), 163. 
.K-yptus (ee-jip'-tu 
AeTlo (a-el'-lo), 137. 
^Eneas (ee-nee'-ass), 304. 
jEolus (ee'-o-lus), 170, 210. 
Aer (S'-er), 12. 
vEsacus (es'-a-cus), 284. 
yEsculapius (es-cu-la'-pe-us), 177. 
^Esoii (ee'-son), 213. 

^Eetes (ee-ee'-teez), 215, 222. 
^Ether (ee'-ther), 12. 
^Ethiopia (e-thi-o'-pe-ahl, 207. 
^Ethra (ee'-thrah), 259, 267, 288. 
Minn, Mount (et'-nah), 100 
Agamemnon (ag-a-mem'-non), 94, 286, 


Agave (a-ga'-ve), 127, 205. 
Agenor (a-jee'-nor), 203. 
Ages, 22. 

Aglaia (ag-lay'-yah). 163. 
Agraulos (a-graw'-lfts), 122. 
Agrigent (ag'-ri-jent), 213. 
Aides (a-i'-de.-z), 52, 130, 250. 

helmet of 206, 208. 
Atdoneus (a-i-do'-nuce), 130. 
Air, 12 
Ajax (a'-jax) the Greater, 298. 

the Lesser, 305. 
Alcestis (al-ses'-tiss), 76. 
Alcinous (al-sin'-o-nsi, ->28, 318. 
Alcippe (al-sip'-pe), 113 
Alcmieon (alk-mee'-on), 273. 277. 
Alcmene (alk-mee'-ne), &5, 234. 
Alecto (a-leck'-to), 138. 
Alexander (al-ex-an'-der), 284. 
Aloidse (al-o-i'-de), 113. 
Alpheus (al'-fuce), 242. 
Altars, 191. 

Althea (al-thee'-ah, th as in both), 90. 
AIM- (al'-tis) the, 41. 
Amalthea (am-al-thee'-ah), 15. 
Amazons (am'-a-zons), 244, 258, 264. 
Ambrosia (am-bro'-zhah), 15. 

* Most of the words ending in eus may also be pronounced thus : ^E'-ge-us, 
(i'-tre-us, pro-7iie'-the-us, etc. 


Amor (a'-mor), 150. 
Amphiaraus (am'-fe-a-ray'-ns), 273. 
Amphidamas (am-fid'-a-mass), 221. 
Amphilochus (am-fil'-o-cus), 277. 
Amphion (am-fi'-on), XI. 
Amphitnte (am fe-tn'-te), 104, 167. 
Amphitrion (am-fit'-re-on),35,234. 
Amycus (am'-i-cus), 219. 
Anaitis-Aphroditis (an-a I'-tis-af-ro- 

(M'-tis), 92. 

Ananke (an-ang'-ke), 147. 
Anciliae (an-sil'-e-e), 115. 
An'lrogeos (an dro'-je-oss), 262. 
Andromache (an-drom'-a-ke), 295, 


Andromeda (an-drom'-e-dah), 207. 
Antea (an-tee' ah). 256. 
Antcos (an tee'-os), 248. 
Anteros (an'-te-ross), 150. 
Antigone (an-tig'-o-ne), 271. 275. 
Antinoiis (an tin'-o-us),32i. 
Antiope (an-ti'-o-pe), 32. 
Antiphates (an-tif'-a-teez), 311. 
Apharetis (af'-a-ruce), 34. 
Aphrodite (af-ro-di'-te), 58, 99, 152. 
Apollo (<t pol'-lo), 68. 

(Roman\ 83. 
Apple of Discord, 39. 
Arachne ia-rak'-ne), 45. 
Arcadia (ar ca'-de-ah), 240. 
Arctos (ark'-tos), 35. 
Areopa-rus (a-re-op'-a-gus),44, 113,212. 
Ares (A'-reez), 99, 112. 

grove of. 215. 

field of, 223, 225. 
Arete (a-ree'-te or ar'-e-te), 228, 318. 
Arethusa (ar-e-thn'-sah), 163. 
Aretias (a-ree'-she-;is8), 221. 
Argia (ar-ji'-ah), 272. 
Argives (ar -jives), 274. 
Argo, 215, 230. 321. 
Argonaut" (ar'-go-nawts), 213. 
Argns (ar'-gos), 209, 216, 283. 
Argus, 224. 

ArgiH-P.moptes (pan-op'-teez), 36. 
Ariadne (a-re-Md'-ne). 128, 263. 
Aricia (a-rish'-e-ah), 97. 
Arion (a-ri'-on), 275. 
Aristieus (ar-iss-tee'-usV 81. 
Aristodemus (a-ris'-to-de'-mus), 282. 
Ari-tomachus (ar-is-tom'-a-cu?), 282. 
Arsinoe (ar-sin'-o-e), 278. 
Artemis (ar'-te-miss), 87. 
Ascalaphus (ass-cal'-a-fuss), 55, 250. 
Asclepius (ass-clee'-pe-us), 71, 76, 176. 
Ashtoreth (ash'-to-reth), 61. 
Asphodel meadows (ass-fo-dei;, 133. 
Astarte (ass-tar'-te), 61. 
A^trsea (ass-tree'-ah), 85. 
AstnBtis (ass-tree'-us), 68. 
Aatyanax (ass ti'-a-nax), :304. 
Atalanta at-a-lan'-tah), 89. 
Ate (S'-te), 149. 

Athamas (ath'-a-mass), 111, 215. 
Athene (a-thee'-ne. l/i asin6o/A),43. 
Athene.Pohas (po'-le-ass), 44, 189, 19, 


Athens, 264. 
Atlas, 207. 248. 
Atreus, (a'-t nice), 282. 
Atropos (at'-ro-pos), 139. 
Atys (a'-tiss), 19. 
Augeas (aw'-je ass), 242, 254. 
Augurs, 196. 
AiiFis (aw'-li*), 97. 
Aurora (aw-ro'-rah), 13. 07. 
Autochthony (aw-tok'-tho-ny), 22. 
Autolycus (aw-tol'-i-cus), 2:J5, 251. 
Autonoe, (aw-ton'-o-e), 205. 
Avernus (a-ver'-nus), 132. 
Avertor (it-verMon, 180. 
Averuncus (av-e-run'-cus), 180. 

Bacchanalia (bac-ca-na'-lc-ah), 199. 
Bacchantes (bac-f an'-tecz), 198. 
Bacchus (bac'-cus), 1:50. 
Battus (bat'-tus), 119. 
Baucis (baw'-nis). 37. 
Bebncians (be-brish'-e-anz), 219. 
Beech-nymph. 168. 
Bellerophon (bel-ler'-o-fon), 256. 
Bellerophontes (bel-ler'-o-fon'-teez), 


Bellona (ht-I-lo'-nah), 116. 
Belvedere (bel'-vi-deer), 85. 
Benthesicyiue, (ben-the-siss'-i-me), 

Berecynthia Idea (ber'-e-?in'-the-ah-i- 

dee'-ah), 19. 
Beroe (ber'-o-e, first e like ei in their), 


Birch-nymph, 168. 
Bistonians (bis-to'-ne-nnz), 243. 
Bilhynia (bi-thm'-e-ah), 220. 
Boreas (bo'-re-ass), 171. 
Brauron (braw'-ron), 96. 
Brazen Age. 23. 
Briarcus (bri'-a-rnce), 13. 
Bri^is (bri-see'-iss), 292. 
Brontes (bron '-teez), 16. 
Busiris (bu-si'-ris), 248- 
Butes (bu'-teez), 228. 


Cadmus, 203. 

Caducens (ca-du'-she-us), 121. 
Calais (cal'-a-iss), 171, 220. 
Calchas (cal'-kas), 94, 287, 289, 292. 
Cahrrhoe (cal-lir'-ro-e, 278. 
Calliope cal-li'-o-pe\ 80, 159. 
CallUto (cal-lis'-to), 35. 



Calydonian Boar-hunt, 89. 

Calypso (ca-lip'-so), 317. 

Cameiwe (ca-nice'-nee), 184. 

Campus Martins (mar'-she-u&), 115. 

Canens (ca'-nenz), 182. 

Capaneus (cap'-a-nuce), 273. 

Caphareus, Cape (ca fa'-rucc), 303. 

Carmenta (car-men'-tah). 184. 

Carmeutalia (car-men-ta'-le-ah), 184. 

Carnival, 201. 

Carpo. 164. 

Cassandra tcas-san'-drah), 284, 303,305. 

Cassiopea (cas'-se-o-pee'-ah), 207. 

Castalian Spring, 159, 195. 

Castor, 33, 187, 268. 

Caucasus (caw'-ca-sus), Mount, 222. 

Cecrops (see'-crops), 189. 

Celaeno (se-lee'-no). 137. 

Celous see'-le-us), 53. 

Celts, 10. 

Cenveus (se-nec'-iisl, 255. 

Centaurs (sen'-tawrs), 266. 

Ceos (see'-os), 13. 

Cepheus (see'-fuce), 207. 

Cephisstis (se-fiss'-us), 169. 

Cerberus ser'-be rus), 133, 153, 249. 

Cercyon (ser'-se-on), 261. 

Cerealia (se-re-a'-le ah), 201. 

Ceres (see'-reez , 58. 201. 

Cerunitis (ser-u-ni'-tis), 240. 

Cestus (ses'-tiis), 59. 

Ceto (see'-to). 111. 

Ceuta (8ii'-th), 222. 

Ceyx (see'-ix). 110, 254, 280. 

Chalciope (cal-si'-o-pe), 223. 

Chaos (ka'-oss), 11. 

Chares (ca'-reez), 99. 

Charites (car'-i-tecz), 163. 

Charon (ta'-ron). 132. 153. 

Charybdis (ca-rib'-dis.i, 228, 316. 

Chinnera <ki mee'-rah), 257, 162. 

Chiron (ki'-ron), 289. 

Chloris (clo'-ris), 171. 

Chrysaor (cris-n'-or), 145. 

Chryseis (cri-see'-iss), 292. 

Chryses (cri'-seez), '292. 

Cimmerians (sini-me'-ri-anz), 132, 314. 

Cimon (si'-mon), 268. 

Circe (sir'-sei, ft4, 182, 227, 311. 

Cithneron (si-thee'-ron, (ft as in both), 


Mount, 236. 

Cleodseus (cle-o-dce'-us), 282. 
Cleopatra (cle-o-pat'-rab), 220. 
Clio (cli'-o), 159. 
Cloacina (clo-a-si'-nau), 61. 
Clotho (clo'-tho), 139. 
Clymene cltm'-e-ne), 64. 
Clytwmnestra (ciit-ein-nes'-trah), 94, 


Clytie (cli'-ti-e), 63. 
Cocalus (coc'-a-lus), 213. 
Cocytus (co-si'-tus), 132, 314. 

Ca-lus fsee'-lusl, 11 

Colchis (col'-ki*), 215, 222. 

Colonus (co-lo'-nns), 271. 

Colossus of Rhodes (co-los'-sus), 6fi. 

Comns (co'-mus), 184. 

Coiisualia (con-su-a'-le-ah), 183. 

Consus (con'-sus), 183. 

Copreus (co'-pruce), 2:i9. 

Cora, 197. 

Cornucopia (cor noo-co'-pe ah), 148. 

Coronis (co ro'-nis), 75. 

Corybantes (cor-i-han'-tecz), 19. 

Cos, island of <coss), 104. 

Coitos (cot'-to>i), 13 

Crania, island of (era ni'-ah), 286. 

Creon (cree' on). 237, 275. 

Crcsphor.tes (cfes-fon'-tecz), 282. 

Cretan Bull, 24.3. 

Crete (erect), 229. 

Creusa (cre-yu'-sah), 2)0. 

Crios (cri'-os), 13. 

Croesus (crce'-eus), 195. 

Crommyon (crom'-me-on), 260. 

Cronus icro' nus). 14. 179. 

Ctesiphon (tes'-i fon). 93 

Cumii-an Sibyl, the icu-mee'-an). 84. 

Cupid (cu'-pid), 150. 

Curctcs (cii-ree'-tecz), 15. 

Cybele (sib'-i-le), 18, 128 

Cyclops (si'-clops), 105, 307. 

Cyciius (sik'-nus), 66, 247. 

Cyllcne, Mount (sil lee'-nc). 119. 

Cyparissiis (sip-a-ns'-sus). 77, 182. 

Cyprus, island of (si'-prus), 60. 

Cyrus (si'-ms), 195. 

Cythera (sith-ee'-rah), 60. 

Cyzicus (siz'-i-cus), 218. 


Daedalus (ded'-a lus), 211. 
Daemons (de'-mons), 18>. 
Damastes (da mas'-u-ezi, 261. 
Danae (dan'-a-e), 205, 209. 
Danaides (dan-a'-I-deez), 135. 
Danaus (dau'-a-us), Ii5. 
Danneker (daii'-ck-kcr), 129. 
Daphne (daf'-ne),-^. 
Daphnei>horia (daf-ne-fo'-re-ah), 200. 
Daphnephorus (daf-nef'-o-rns), 200. 
Deianeira (dc-i'-a-ni'-rah), 254. 
Dciphobus (de-if'-o-bus), 300. 
Deipylc (de-ip'-i-le). 272. 
Delia (dee'-le-ah), S3. 
Delos, island of (dee'-168), 69, 83. 
Delphi (del'-fl), 82. 
Delpbic Oracle, 194. 
Demeter (de-mee'-ter), 50, 197. 
Demi-gods, 8. 

Demophoon 'de-mof'-o-on), 53, 280. 
D-ucalion (dn-ca'-le-on), 21. 
Diana (di-an'-nah), 87. 
-of Versailles, 88. 


Dice (di'-se), 164. 

Ens (ee'-ris;, 39. 

Dictys (dic'-tiss), 205. 

Eros (ee'-r6s), 74, 150. 

Dinclymene (din-di-mee'-ne), 19. 
Dino (di'-uo), 145. 

Ervmantian Boar (er-e-man'-Bhnn),240. 
Erythia (er-e-thi'-ah), 246. 

Diomedes (di-o-mee'-deez), 112, 243, 

Eteocles (e-tee'-o-cleez), 272, 275. 


Ether (ee'-ther), 12. 

Dione (di-o'-ne). 58. 

Eubceans (u-bee'-anz), 210. 

Dionysia (di o-nish'-e-ah), 130, 197. 

Enmseus (u-mee'-us), 320. 

Dionysus (di-o-ni'-sus), 124, 193, 198, 

Eumenides (u-men' i-deez), 138, 271. 
Eanomia (u-no'-me-ah), 164. 

Dioscuri (di-os-cu'-ri), 33. 
Dine (di' ree), 138. 
Dirce (dir'-sc), 33. 

Euphemus (u fee'-mus), 221. 
Euphrosyne (u-fros'-i-ne), 163. 
Europa (u-ro'-pah), 34. 

Dis (diss), 137. 

Eurus (u'-rus), in. 

Discord, goddess of, 284. 
Do.lona (do do'-nah), 29, 216. 

Euryale (u-ri'-a-le), 144. 
Eurybia tu-rib'-e-ah), 13. 

Doliones (do li'-o-neez), 218. 

Eurvclea (u-ri-ciee'-ah), 321. 

Dorians (do'-re-anz), 211. 
Doris (do'-ris), 108. 
Dorus (do'-rus), 211. 

Eurydice (u-rid'-i-se), 81. 
Eurylochus (u-ril'-o kus), 311. 
Eurvnome (u-rin'-o-me), 98. 

Dryades (dri'-a-deez), 168. 
Dryas (dri'-ass), 126. 

Eurvpylus (u-rip'-i-lus), 299. 
Eurystheus (u-nss'-thuce), 237, 280. 

Dymas (di'-mass), 283. 

Kurytion (u-rit'-e-on), 246, 266. 

Eurytus (u'-ri-tus), 235. 


Euterpe (u-ter'-pe), 159. 
Evander (e-van'-der), 184. 

Evenus (e-ve'-nus), 254. 

Echedorns (ek-e-do'-rns), 247. 

Echeraon (ek-kee'-mon), 2t>2. 

Echidna, (ek-kid'-nah), 146. 


Echo (ek'-o), 169. 

Egeria (e-gee' re-ah), 184. 

Farneze Bull, the (far'-neez), 33. 

Eilithyia (i lith i'-yah), 41, 237. 

Fates, 139. 

Electra (e-lek'-trah), li:, 306. 

Fauns (fawns), 175. 

Electryon (e-lek' tre-on), 35. 
Eleusinian Mysteries (el-u-sin'-e-an), 

Faunus (faw'-nus), 174. 
Festivals, 196 

56, 132,. 196. 

Fetiales (fe-she-a'-leez), 124. 

Eleusis (e -lei 'sis), 54. 

Flora, 180. 

Elis <ec' lis). 254,283. 

Floralia (flo-ra'-le-ah), 180. 

Elysian Fields (e-lizh'-e an), 133. 

Fortuna (for-tu'-nah), 147. 

Elysium (c lizh'-e urn), 1*3. 

Furies, 278, 306. 

Enccladus len-sel'-a-dus), 20. 

Endymion (eii-dim'-e-on). 87. 


Enipeus <e-ni' puce), 106. 

Enyo iO-ni' o), 113 

Gadria (gnd'-re ah), 24fi. 

Eos (ee'-osl, 67. 297. 

Gaea (je'-ah), 11. 

Epaplms (ep' a-fus), 36, 64. 

Galatea (gal-a-tee'-ah). 167. 

Epeios (epi'-6s),301. 
Ephesus. temple of (ef'-e-sns), 92. 
Ephialtes ief-e-aT-teez), 105. 

Ganymede (gan-i-mee'-dc), 150, V46 
Ganymedes (gau-i-mee'-deezv Jb6,246 
Ge. 11. 

Epidaurus (ep-e daw'-rus), 260. 

Genii (jee'-ne-i), 185. 

Epigoni (e-pig'-o-ni), 276. 

Geryon (jee'-re-on), 246. 

Epimetheus (ep e me'-thuce), 25. 

Geryones (je-ri'-o-neez), 246. 

Epopeus te-po'-puce), 32. 
Erato (er'-a-to). 159. 
Erebus (er'-e-buss), 13. 

Giants, 13, 199, 218. 
Gigantomachia (ji-gan'-to-ma'-ke-ah). 

Erechtheus fe-rek'-thnce), 210. 

Glance felaw' e), 231. 

Eresichthon (er-e-sik'-thon), 57. 

Glaucus iglaw'-cus), 109, 219. 

Erginns (er-ji'-nns), 237. 
Eridanus, river, the (e-rid'-a-nus), 65, 

Golden Age, 22, 185. 
Golden Fleece. 215, 223, 226, 230. 

Erinnyes (e-rin'-ne-eez), 138. 
Eriphyle (er-i-fi'-le), 2T3. 

GordJus (gor'-de-ns), 128. 
Gorgons, 144. 206. 
Graces, 163. 


Gradivus (gra-di'-vus), 115. 
Grae;e (gree'-ee), 145, 206. 
Gratiae. (gra'-she-ee), 163. 
Gyges (ji'-Jeez), 13. 

Hippolytus (hip-pol'-i-tus), 266. 
Hippomedon (hip-pom'-e-don), 273. 
Hippomeiies (hip-pom'-e-neez), 91. 
Hone (ho'-ree), 164. 

Horned Hind. 240. 

Hyacinthus (hi-a-sin'-thns), 77. 


Hyades (hi'-a-ileez), 170. 

Hydra, Lernean, the (hi'-drah, ler 

Hades (ha'-deez), 250. 
Haemon (hee'-mon), 276. 
Halcyone (hal-si'-o-ne), 110. 
Halirrothius (hal-ir-roMhe-us), 113. 

nee'-au), 239. 
Hygeia (hi-jee'-yah), 177. 
HjTas (hi'-las), 216, 219. 
Hyllus (hil'-lus), 254, 281. 

Hamadryades (ham-a-dry'-a-deez), 168. 

Hymen (hi'-men), or Hymenseus (hi- 

Harmonia (har-mo'-ne-ah), 204, 276. 

mc-nee'-us), 154. 

Harpies (har'-piz), 137, 220. 

Hyperion (hi-pee'-re-on), 13. 

Harpinna thar-pin'-iiah), 233. 
Hebe (hee'-be , 41, 156, 256. 
Hebrus, river, the (hee'-brus),82. 

Hypnus (hip'-nus), 142. 
Hypsipyle (hip-sip'-i-le), 274 

Hecate (hec'-a-te), 85. 

Hecatombs (hec'-a-tomes), 193. 

Hecatonclieires (hec'-a-ton-ki'-reez), 



Hector, 284, 290, 293. 

lambe (J-am'-be), 53. 

Kecuba (hec'-n-bah), 283, 304. 

lapetus (i-ap'-e-tus), 24. 

Helen, 267, 286, 3(14. 

lasion (i-a'-zhe-on), 137. 

Helenus (hel'-e-nus), 299. 

Iberia (i-bee'-re-ah), 247. 

Helicon (hel'-e-con), 158, 162. 

Icaria (i-ca'-re-ah), 212. 

Helios, (hee'-le-os), 61, 316. 

Icarus (ic'-a rus), 211. 

Helios-Apollo, 70. 
Helle (hel'-le), 215. 

Ichor (i' kor), 7. 
Ida, Mount, 157, 284, 300. 

Hemera (hee'-me-rah), 13, 142. 

Idas (i'-dass), 34, 75. 

Heosphor'us (he-os'-fo-rus), 68. 

Idmon (id' mon), 216. 

Hephaestus (he-fee' tus), 97. 

Idomeneus (i di>m'-e-nuce), 286. 

Hera (he'-rah), 38,214. 

Ilion (il'-e-on), 283. 

Heracles * (her'-a-cleez), 26, 218, 234. 

Illyria (il-lir'-e ah), 205. 

Heraclidae * (her a-ch'-dee), 280. 

llus (i'-lus), 2J. 

Herse (he'-ree), 41. 

Inaclius (in'-a-cus), 36. 

Hercules (her'cu leez) See Heracles. 

Ino CV no), 205, 215. 

Pillars of, 246. 

Inmis (in' u-ua), 174. 

Hermit (her' mee), 118. 

lo (i'-o), 36. 

Hermes (her'-meez), 117, 250, 312. 

lobates (i ob' a-teez). 257. 

Hermione (her-mi'-o-uc), 307. 

lolaus (i-o-la'-us), 239, 251, 381. 

Heroes, 8. 

lolcus (i ol'-cus), 213, 230. 

Hero:-tratus (he-ros'-Ira tus), 93. 

lole (i'-o-lei. 251, 255. 

Herse (her'-se), 87, 122. 

Ion (i'-on), 210. 

Hesiod's Theogony (he'-she-od), 24, 

Iphigenia lit' i ge-ni'-ah), 94, 289, 307. 


Iphitus (if'-i tus), 251. 

Hesione (he-si'-o-ne), 245, 253, 285. 

Iris (i'-ris), 155,220. 

Hesperia (hes-pee'-re-ah), 163. 
Hebrides (hes-per'-i-deez), 162, 247. 

Iron Age, 23. 
Ismene (iss-mee'-ne), 271. 

Hesperus (hes'-pe-rus), 68. 
Hesiia (hes'-te-ah), 48. 

Ister (iss'-ter). 226. 
Isthmian Games,< isth'-me-an),107, 264. 

Hip'pocamp, 229. 
Hippocamps. 102. 

Ithaca (ith'-a-cah), 310, 319. 
Ixion (ix-i'-on), 135. 

Hippocrene (hip-po-cree'-ne), 159,162. 

Hippodamia (hip'-po-<la-mi'-ah), 232, 


Hippolyte (hip-pol'-i-te), 264. 

Hippolyte'e Girdle, 244. 
Hippolytes (hip-pol'-i-teez), 283. 

JanI (ja'-nl\ 178. 
Janus (ja'-nos), 18, 178. 

* The first e like ei in their. 



Jason (ja'-son), 213. 

Lupercns (lu-per'-cus), 174. 

JocaMa (jo-cas'-tah), 269, 270. 
Juno (ju'-no), 42, 1R5. 

Lycaon (li-cay'-on), 37. 
Lycomedes (lic-o-mee'-deez), 268, 287. 

Jupiter (ju'-pe ter), :38. 
Jupiter-Ammon, 207. 
Juveutas (jii-ven'-tass), 156, 1 

Lycurgus (li-cur'-gns), 126, 189, 274. 
Lycus (li'-cns), 32. 
Lynceus (lin'-suce), 34, 216. 



Keidomos (ki'-do-mos), 113. 

Macaria (ma-ca'-re-ah), 281. 

Kcr(cur), 149. 

Machaon (ma-ca'-on), 177, 300. 

Keres (kee'-reez), 149. 

Magna-Mater (may'-ter), 19. 

Maia (may'-yah), 119. 

Mamers (ma'-merz). 114. 


Manes (ma'-neez), 185. 

Marathonian Bull (mar-a-tho'-ne-an), 

Labdacus Hab'-da-cus), 269. 

Labyrinth (lab'-i rinth), 212, 262. 

Mares of Diomedes, 243 

Lacediemon (las e-dee'-mon), 283. 

Marpessa (mar-pes'-sah), 75. 

Lac'edsemo'nians, 189. 

Mars (marz), 114. 

Lachesis (lak'-e-sis), 139. 

Marspitcr (mars'-pe-ter), 114. 

Lacolia (la co'-le-ah), 250. 
Lacus Nemoreusis (la'-cusnem-o-ren'- 

Maisyas imar'-she-ass), 78. 
Mater-Deomm (dee-o'-nim). 19. 

sis), 97. 

Matronalia (ma-tro-na'-4e-ah), 43. 

Ladon(la'-don), 240. 

Mecone (me-co'-ne), 24. 

Laertes (la-er'-teez), 314, 323. 

Medea (me-dee'-ah), 223, 261. 

Ltegtrygonea lies irig'-o-neez), 311. 

Medusa (me-du'-sah), 45, 144, 206. 

Lai us (ia'-yus), 269. 
Lampeius dam' pe tus), 67. 
Lampsacus (lamp'-sa-cns), 176. 
Laocoon ila oc'-o on), 301. 
Laodamas (la od' a -mass), 277. 
Laomedon Ha om'-e-don), 104,245, 253. 

Megaera (me-jee'-rah), 138. 
Megapenthes (meg-a-pen'-theez), 209. 
Megara (meg'-a-rah), 138, 237, 251. 
Melanippe (mel-a-nip'-pe), 245. 
Meleager (me-le-a'-jer), 89. 216. 
Meliades (me-li'-a-det-z), 170. 

Lar, 186. 

Melissa (me lis'-sah), 15. 

Lares Familiares (la'-reez fa mil'-e a'- 

Melpomene (mel-pom'-e-ne), 159. 

reez), 186. 

Memnon imem'-non), 297. 

Lamsa <la-ri*'-sah), 189, 209. 
Latmus Mount, 87. 

Memphis (mtm'-fiss), 36. 
MCDMCS (men'-a-deez), 198. 

Latona da to' nah), 31. 

Menelaus (men-e-la'-us), 294, 304, 305. 

Laverna (la ver' nah). 184. 

Menes-thius (me-nes'-the-us), 2<i8. 

Leda (lee'-dah), 33. 

Menoeceus (me-nee'-suce), 274. 

Lemiios, island of, Oem'-nossl, 98, 217. 

Menoetius (me-nee'-she-us), 216. 

Lcmuralia (lem-u-ra'-le ah), 186. 
Lemures <lem'-u reez), 186. 

Mercury (mer'-cu-ry), 123. 
Merope (mer'-ope, first like el in 

Lcrna, 239. 

thtii), 269. 

Leniean Hydra. See Hydra. 
Lesbos flezMMS). 290. 

Messene (mes-see'-ne), 283. 
Metaneira (met-a-ni'-rah), 53. 

Lethe (lee'-the. /h as in both), 133. 

Metis (mee'-tiss), 30. 

Leto (lee'-to), 31. 

Metra (mee'-trah), 57, 92. 

Leucippus nu-s-ip'-pus). 34 

Midas (mi'-das), 79, 128. 

Leucothea flu-co'-the-ah, th as in both), 

Midea (mi-doe'-ah), 209. 


Milo (mi'-lo), 60. 

Liber Hi'-ber). 130. 

Miltiades (mil-ti'-a-deez), 268. 

Liberalia (iib-er-a'-le-ah), 130. 

Mimas (mi'-mass), 20. 

Libya flib'-yah), 207, 229. 
Limoniades (lim-o-ni'-a-deez), 170. 

Minerva (mi-ner'-vah). 47. 
Minerva! (mi-ner'-val). 47. 

Linden-nymph, 168. 

Minos (mi'-nfis), 34, 134, 212, 243. 

Linns (li'-nus), 235. 

Minotaur (min'-o-tawn. 212, 262. 

Lion, Nemean (ne'-me-an), 238- 
Ludi Maximi (lu'-di max'-i-mi), 48- 

Minyans (min'-yanz). 237. 
Mnemosyne (ne-mos'-i-ne), 13, 31. 

Ludovici Villa (lu-do-vee'-chee), 116. 
Luna (lu'-nah), 86, 97. 

Moira (moy'-rah), 139- 
Moirae (moy'-ree), 297, 139. 



Moly (mo'-ly), 312. 

Moinn-i (mo'-mus), 149. 

Moneta Juno (mo nee' lah), 42. 

Mopsus, 216. 

Morpheus (mor'-fuce), 143. 

Mors (morz). See Thauatos. 

Musagetes (mu saj'-e-tecz), 71. 


Mutunus (mu-tu'-nus), 176. 

Mycenae (mi-sec'-ne), 209. 305. 

Myrmidons (niir' mi-dons), 288, 293, 


Myrtilus (mir'-ti lus), 233. 
Mysia (misli'-e-ah), 219. 
MVMUIIS, 289. 

Naiads (na'-yads), or Naiades (na-i ; 

a deez). 166, 227. 
Napwse (na-pee'-ee), 169. 
Narcissus (nar sis'-sus). 169. 
Nausicaa (naw-s-ic'-a ah). 317. 
Naxos inax'-ossj, 128 263- 
Necessilas (ne-ses'-si lass), 148. 
Nectar, 15. 

Neleus (nee' luce). 106, 119, 216- 
Nemea (nee' me all). 274. 
Nemean Lion. &f Lion. 
Nemesis (nem'-e-siss), 141. 
Nemoralia mem o ra'-le all), 97. 
Neoutolemus (ne-op lol'-e uius), 299, 


Nephalia (ne-fa'-le ah), 139- 
Nephelie (nef -e-lee), 12. 
Nephele (nef'-e le). 215 
Ne])tunalia (ncp-tu na'-le ah), 107. 
Neptune inept' -une i, 14, 107. 
Nereides ine-ree'-i deez), 108, 167. 
Nereus mee'-ruce), 13. 108. 
NesMis. 254. 
Nestor. 286. 301 . 305- 
NikeOii' ke). 117- 
Niobe dii' o be). 79. 141. 
Noman. 309. 
Noius uio' tus), 171. 
Nox Set- Nyx 
Nyctimus (me -ti-mus), 38. 
Nycteus inic'-tuce), 32. 
Nymphs. 165- 

Ny>a, Mount (ni'-sah), 125. 
Nyx ^uix), 13. 14,>. 

Oceanides (o-se an'-i-deez). 108. 166 
OceanM (o-see' a mis), 12, 107, 166, 


Orypetc (o sip' e te). 137 
Odysseus lo-dis'-suce), 131, 287, 307. 
CEchaha (e-ka' le ahi. i55. 

(Edipns (ed'-i-pns), 146, 269. 
CEneus (ee'-nuce), 89, 254. 
CEnomaus (ee-nom'-a-us), 232. 
(Enone (ee-no'-ne) 284. 300. 
Oio'gia (o-jij'-e-ah), 317- 
Oileus (o i'-luce), 216. 221. 
Olympia (o-lim'-pe-ah), 29, 123. 
Olym'pic (iames, 30. 
Olym'pus, Mount, 27. 
Omphale (om' fa le), 252. 
Ops, 19. 
Oracles, 194. 

Orchamu* (or'-ca-mns), 63. 
Orciiomenus (or-com'-e-nus), 237. 
Orcus (or'-cus), 136. 
Oreades (o-ree'-a-de( z), 169. 
Orithyia (or'-i-lhi'-yah), 171. 
Orests (o-rcs'-teez). 95, 1:39, 306. 
Orpheus (or' fuce), 80. 216, 228. 
Oitlirus (or'-thrusi, 246. 
Ossa(oss'.sah), 106. 
Olhiys, Mount, (o'-thris), 16. 
Otus (o' tus), 105. 
Oxen of Gen-ones. See Geryones. 
Oxylus(ox'ilus), 283. 


Palaemon (pa-lee'-mon), 111. 
Palamedes(pal-a m.-e' deez), 287, 291. 
Palatine (pal'-a tin), 181. 
Paies (pa'-leez), 181. 
Pahlia (pa lil'-eaht, 181. 
Palladium t pal-la' de-urn), 299, 301. 
Pallan'tids, 2ti2. 
Pallas ipal'-lass), 117. 
Pallas Athene. 43, 234, 302. 
Pan, 79, 171. 198. 
Panacea ipan-a-*ee' nh), 177. 
Panalhen.i'a (pan' ath-e-nee'-ah), 199. 
Pandareo* <pan-da'-re-o*s), 138. 
Pandora (pan do' rah). 25. 
Panisci (pa-nis'-si). 174. 
Panoptes (pa-nop'-teezi, 246. 
Parc;e ipar' see) St<- Moii-ae. 
Paris ipar'-ris). 39, 284, 286. 
Paniassus (par-nas'-sus). 158. 
Parthenon (par'-the-non), 46. 

-Hill. 89. 
Parthenop.neus (par'-lhen-o-pee'-ns), 


Patroclus (p;Mro' clns). 288, 293,314. 
Pedasus iped'-a-sus),.292. 
Pesasns pe-'-a-snst. 145. 162, 257. 
Peitho (pi'-tho> 134. 
Peleus (pee'-luce>. 39. 287 
Pelias (pee'-le ass. 106, 213.230. 
Pi-lion. Mount ipee'-le-on). 106. 
Peloponnesus ipel'-o-pon nee'giig),281. 
Pelops (pee'lops). 135. 232. 
Penates (.pe-na'-teez), 187. 



Penelope fpe-nel'-o-pe), 287, 319. 
Pencils (pe-nee'-us), 74, 242. 
Penthesilea (pen'-the-si-lee'-ah), 296 
Pent hens (pen'-thuce), 126, 205. 
Pephredo(pe-free'-doi, 145. 
Peplus (pee' plus), 199. 
Periphetes (per-i-fee'-teez), 260. 
Perse (per'-se), 64, 312. 
Persephone (per-sef '-o-ne), 52, 19. ,26.. 
Perseus (per'-suce), 145,205. 
Petasiis d>et'-a-sus), 121. 

Poseidon (po-si'-don 1 ), 101. 162, 266. 
Praxiteles (prax-it'-e-lrez), 123. 
Priam (pri'-am), 2>4. 2S3. :J04. 
Priamus (pri'-a-moB). See Priam. 
Priapus. (pri a'-pus), 175. 
Procrustes (pro-crns'-teez), 261. 
Proetns (pree'-tus), 257. 
Prometheus (pro mee'-thuce), 24, 149, 
19'i. 222. 
Proserpine ([iross'-er-pinc), Ste Perse- 

Phueaces (fee-a'-seez), 228, 318. 
Phaedra (fee'-drah), 266. 
Phaethon (fa'-e-ihon), 64, 67. 
Pharos, isle of, (fa'-ros), 108. 
Phases, river (fa'-seez), 222. 

Protesilaus (pro-tess'-i la'-us), 290. 
Proteus (pro'-tuce), 108. 
Prylaneum (prit-a nee'-um), 49. 
Psoi)his (so'-fiss), 278. 

Phegeus (f<-e'-juce),278. 
Phidias (fid'-e-ass), 28 

Psyche (si'-ke), 150. 
Pylades(pil'-a dee/.), 95, 306. 

Philemon (fi lee'-mon), 37. 
PhilocU-tes (til oc-tee'-teez), 256, 290, 

Pylos(pl'-los), 286. 
Pyracmon ipi rac'-mon), 16. 


Pyrrha (pir'-rah), 22. 

Phineus (fi'-nuce), 208, 220. 
Phlegethon (flej'-e-thon), 134. 
Phocis (fo'-siss), 306. 

Pythia (pith'-e ah) 195, 269. 
Pythian Games. 83. 
Python (pi'-thon), 31, 72, 195. 

Phcebe (fee'-be). 13 

Phcebus-Apollo (fee' bus), 68, 298. 

Pholus(fo'-lus), 240. 


Phorcys (for'-siss), 13, 111. 

Phrygia (frij'-e-ah,, 18. 

Quirinus (que-ri'-ntis), 115. 

Phryxus (fnx'-us), 222. 

Phylace (fil'-a-se), 290. 

Phyleus (fl'-luce), 242, 254. 


Phyila (fll'-lah), 233. 


Piciimnus (pi-cum' nus), 182. 

Piciis (pi'-cus), 182. 

Remus (re<>' mus), 114. 

Pieria (pi-ee'-re ah), 119, 158. 
Pierides (pi,ei'-i-deez), 158. 162. 
Pierus(pi'-e-rus), 158. 

Rhadamanthus (rad-a-maii'-thus), 34, 
Rhamnu* (ram' nil*). 142. 

Pilumnus ipi-lum' nus), 182. 

Rnamniisia dam-iiii' zhe ah), 142. 

Pindus, Mount, 158. 

Rhea (ree'-ah). 13, 18. 

Pirithiius (pi-rith'-o-us), 216, 250,265. 

Rhoda (ro'-dah), 105. 

Pisa <pi'-sah). 232. 

Rhodes (roads), 105. 

Pittheus (pit'-thnce). 259. 

Rhodope. Mount (rod'-o pe), 130. 

Plateaipla-tee'-ah), 40. 

Rhcetus (ree'-tus), 20. 

Pleiades iplee'-ya-deez), 119. 
Pluto (plu'-to), 136. 

Robigue (ro-bi'-gus), 180. 
Romulus (rom'-u-lus), 114. 

Plntus (plu'-lus), 132, 137, 148. 

Podalirms (pod-a-lir'-e-us). 177. 

Podarces ipo-dar' soez), 253. 


Pollux, 33. 187,227,268. 

Sacrifices. 192. 

Polybotes (pol-e-bo'-teez), 104. 

Sagaris (sar' a-ris). 19. 

Polybus (pol'-e-bns), 269. 

Safamis isal'-a-mis), 285. 

Polydecies (pol-e-dec'-teez', 205.. 
Polydeuces (pol-e-du'-seez). Set- Pol- 

Salii fea'-le-i). 115. 
Samos (sa'-mos), 34. 


Saturn (sat'-urn), 17. 200. 

Polydorus (pol-e do'-ms),205. 

Saturnalia (sat-nr-na'-)e-ah), 200. 

Polyhymnia (pol-e-l)im' ne-ah). 159. 
Polynices ipoi-e-ni'-seez). 271. 272. 275 

Satyrs (sa'turzX 174. 198. 
Scamander (sca-m:in'.der), 290. 

Polyphemus (pol-e-fee'-mus). 105, 219. 

Scheria (skee'-re-ah). 318. 


Schceneus (skee'-nuce). 89. 

Pomona (po mo'-nah), 180. 

Scvros, island of. (si'-ros), 268, 287. 

Poutus, 13. 

Scvlla (8ir-lah), 104.316. 

Prta Lavernalis (lav-er-na' lis), 184. 

Scyron (gl'-ron), 360. 


Seasons, 164. 
Selene (we lee' nc), 86. 

Terpsichore (terp-sic' o-re), 159 
Terra (ter' rah, t he < like el in their) 1 1 

Seleue Artemis, 96. 

Tethys (tee'-thiss, /// as in both),l<Vl, 

Selli (sel'-li), 29. 


Semele (sem'-e le), 35, 205, 215. 

Teutamias (tu-ta' me-ass), 209. 

Seriphus (se-ri'-fus), 205 
Servius Tulltus (ser'-ve-ns tul'-le us), 

*Thalia (lha li' ah), 159,163. 
Thallo (thai' lo), 164. 


Thamyris (tham'-i ris), 158. 

Shades, realm of, 267, 314. 

Thanutos (than'-a-tos), 142. 

Sibyls (sib'-bles), 84. 
Silens (si'-lenz). 174. 

Thaumas (thaw'-mass), 18, 111, 187. 
Thebes (theebs), 203. 

Siieims (si lee'-nus), 125, 198. 

Theia (thi'-ah), 13. 

Silvanus (sil-va' nus), 115, 182. 

Themis (thee'-mis), 31, 48. 

Silver Age, 23- 
Simois (smi'-o iss), 290. 

Themiscyra (the-mis'-se-rah), 245. 
Thermodor, (ther-mo'-don), 244. 

Sinnis(sin'-nis), 260. 

Thersander (ther-saii' der), 276. 

Sinon (si' nan), 302. 

Thersites (ther-si'-teez), 297. 

biphvius (sif i : lus),80. 

Theseus (thee'-suce), 250, 259. 

Sirens (si' renz). 112, 158, 315. 
Sisyphus (sis'i-fus), 135. 
Sol (soil). SeelMws. 

Thcsmophoria (thes-ino-fo'-re-ah), 197. 
Thes'saly, 77. 
Thestius (thes'-te-us), :. 

Solymans (so)' i-mans), 258. 

Thetis (thee'-tis), 39, 98, 110, 297. 

Sommisfsom' nus). Ste Hypnus. 
Soothsayers, 195. 

Thyone (thi-o' ne), 128. 
Tiphys (ti'-fiss), 216. 

Tiresias (ti-ree'-she-ass), 235, 271 274, 

Sphinx (sfinks). 146 


Stables. Augean (aw jee'-an), 242. 
Statue? 190 

Tiryns (ti'-iinz), 209, 252. 
Tiiynth (ti'-rinth), 209, 252. 

Stelho (stel'-le-o). 57. 

Tisiphone (ti-sif -o-nc), 138. 

Steiopes(ster'o peez, the first ( like 

Titanomachia (ti'-lan-o-ma'-ke-ah), 17. 

ti in their). 16 

Titans (ti'-tanz), 13. 

Stheno (sthee'-no). 144. 
Strophius (stro' fe us), 306. 
Styinphalides (stim fal' i-deez), 221, 

Tithonus (ti-tho'-nus),6S, 297. 
Tityus (tit' e us), 134. 
Trachin (tra'-kin), 254. 
Tiaehis(tra'-kis), 254. 

Styx (sticks). 117, 132,287. 

Triuacria (iri-na'-cre -ah), 316. 

Sy'mplc-adcs isim-plc'i^a-deez), 221. 
Sviinx (si'- rinks), 172 

Triptolemtis (trip-tol'-e-mus), 53. 
Tiitoiutri'-ton), 109. 

Syrtes (sir' teez), 229. 

Trivia (triv'-e ah). 97. 

Ticezen (tree' zen), 251 

TiositiOss), 157.246. 


Trov, 283 


-wails of, 104. 

Taenarnm (ten'-a-rnm), 132, 250. 
Talaiia ita-la'-ie ah), 121. 
Talus ita'-lus), '229. 
Tantalus (taiv-ta Ins), 134. 
Tarqnmins Suj>erbus (tar-qnin'-e-us 
sii-per'-bus>. 84. 
Tariarus (tar' la-ins). 14. 134. 

Tubal Cain (loo'-bal-cane), 101. 
Tyche(ti'-kei, 147. 
Tydeus (ti'-duce).272. 
Tyndnreus itin-da' re-us), 285. 
Typhneus (ti-fo'-yuce), 21. 
Typhon (ti'-fon). 21. 
Tyro (ti'-ro), 106. 

Taurica Chersoncsus (taw'-ri-cah ker- 

fco-nee'-sus), 93. 306. 


Tanris (taw'-t to), 93. 306. 
Tegea (tee'je-ah). 279. 
Telamon (tel'-a-mon). 216, 253, 285. 
Tt'leinachns (tel -lem' a-eus-). 2b7, 320. 
Telephus (tel'-e- Ins). 289 

Uftizi Gallery (oof'-fld-ze). 80. 
Ulysses (u-lis'-feez). See Odysseus. 
Urania (u-ra'-ne-ah). 159. 
Uianus (u'-ia-nug), 11. 

Temenus (tern' e nus). 282. 

Temples, 188 


Tenedos (len'-e-dosl. 290. 301, 303. 
Terminus (,ter' mi iitis), 182. 

Veneralia (ven-e-ra'-le-ah), 61. 

Th at the beginning of a word ha? its soft pound, as in both. 


Venus (vee'-nns), 61, 183. 

of Milo, 60. 

Vertumnus (ver-ttim'-nns), 181. 
Vesta (ves'-tah). 50, 201. 
Vestalia (ves-ta'-le-ah), 59,201. 
Via Salavia (vi'-ah sa-la'-ve-ah), 184. 
Victo'ria. 117. 
Vulcan, 100. 


Winds. 170, 298. 
Wooden Horse, 30L 

Xuthus (zoo-thus), 210. 


Zephyrns (zef'-i-rus), 151, 171,31(X 
Zetes (zee'-teez), 171. 
Zethus (zee' -thus), 33. 
Zeus (zuce), 26. 

University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 

Bia^f^eaSca! Libra 

R E C i V t 


1 649 

A 000020004 

University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 

IC'D C.L DEC 1 2 '; 
Of JAMl 1 2000 


276 pages, 12mo, attractively bound in cloth. 




en to 



! into 



:e the 
ii-rh to 

- work 
:nt to 

ed, to 

EFFINGHAM MAYNARD & CO., Publishers, New York. 

AText-Book on English Literature, 

With, copious extracts from the leading authors, English and Ameri- 
can. With full Instructions as to the Method in which these are 
to be studied. Adapted for use in Colleges, High Schools, 
Academies, etc. By BRAINERD KELLOGG, A.M., Professor of 
the English Language and Literature in the Brooklyn Collegiate 
and Polytechnic Institute, Author of a " Text-Book on Rhet- 
oric," and one of the Authors of Reed & Kellogg's " Graded 
Lessons in English," and "Higher Lessons in English." 
Handsomely printed. 12mo, 478 pp. 
The Book is divided into the following Periods: 

Period I. Before the Norman Conquest, 670-1066. Period II. 
From the Conquest to Chaucer's death, 1066-1400. Period III. 
From Chaucer's death to Elizabeth, 1400-1558. Period IV. Eliza- 
beth's reign, 1558-1603. Period V. From Elizabeth's death to the 
Restoration, 1603-3 660. Period VI. From the Restoration to Swift's 
death, 1660-1745. Period VII. -From Swift's death to the French 
Revolution, 1745-1789. Period VIII. From the French Revolution, 
1789, onwards. 

Each Period is preceded by a Lesson containing a brief resume of the 
great historical events that have had somewhat to do in shaping or in color- 
ing the literature of that period. 

The author aims in this book to furnish the pupil that which he cannot 
help himself to. It groups the authors so that their places in the line and 
their relations to each other can be seen by the pupil; it throws light upon 
the authors' times and surroundings, and notes the great influences at work, 
helping to make their writings what they are; it points out such of these 
as should be studied. 

Extracts, as many and as ample as the limits of a text-book would 
allow, have been made from the principal writers of each Period. Such are 
selected as contain the characteristic traits of their authors, both in 
thought and expression, and but tew of theso extracts have ever seen the 
light in books of selections none of them have been worn threadbare by 
use, or have lost their freshness by the pupil's familiarity with them in the 
school readers. 

It teaches the pupil how the selections are to be studied, soliciting and 
exacting his judgment at every step of the way which leads from the 
author's diction up through his style and thought to the author himself, 
and in many other ways it places the pupil on the best possible footing with 
the authors whose acquaintance it is his business, as well as his pleasure, to 

Short estimates of the leading authors, made by the best English and 
American critics, have been inserted, most of them contemporary with us. 

The author has endeavored to make a practical, common-sense text- 
book : one that would so educate the student that he would know and 
enjoy good literature. 

" I find the book in its treatment of English literature superior to any other I 
have examined. Its main feature, which should be the leading one of all similar 
book?, is that it is a means to an end, simply a guide-book to the study of Enyli.h 
literature. Too many students in the paat have studied, not the literature of the 
English language, but some author's opinion of that literature. I know from ex- 
perience that your method of treatment will prove an eminently successful one." 
Jamet H. Shults, Prin. qf the West High. School, Cleveland, 0. 

EFFINGHAM MAYNARD & Co,, Publishers, New York,